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1801, 1802, and 1803, 










VOL. I. 







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London, May 20, 1814. 

VOL. I. * A 

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The publication in 1814 of a voyage commenced in 1801, and of 
which all the essential parts were concluded within three years, 
requires some explanation.^ Shipwreck and a long imprisonment 
prevented my arrival in England until the latter end of 1810; 
much had then been done to forward the account, and the charts 
in particular were nearly prepared for the engraver ; but it was de- 
sirable that the astronomical observations, upon which so much 
depended, should undergo a re-calculation, and the lunar distances 
have the advantage of being compared with the observations made 
at the same time at Greenwich; and in July 1811, the necessary 
authority was obtained from the Board of Longitude. A consider- 
able delay hence arose, and it was prolonged by the Greenwich 
observations being found to differ so much from the calculated 
places of the sun and moon, given in the Nautical Almanacks of 
1801, 3 and 3, as to make considerable alterations in the longitudes 
of places settled during the voyage ; and a reconstruction of all 
the charts becoming thence indispensable to accuracy, I wished also 
to employ in it corrections of another kind, which before had been 
adopted only in some particular instances. 

A variety of observations with the compass had shown the mag- 
netic needle to differ from itself sometimes as much as six, and even 
seven degrees, in or very near the same place, and the differences 
appeared to be subject to regular laws ; but it was so extraordinary 

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in the present advanced state of navigation, that they should not 
have been before discovered and a mode of preventing or correct- 
ing them ascertained, that my deductions, and almost the facts were 
distrusted ; and in the first construction of the charts I had feared 
to deviate much from the usual practice. Application was now 
made to the Admiralty for experiments to be tried with the compass 
on board different ships ; and the results in five cases being con- 
formable to one of the three laws before deduced, which alone was 
susceptible of proof in England, the whole were adopted without 
reserve, and the variations and bearings taken throughout the voy- 
age underwent a systematic correction. From these causes the 
reconstruction of the charts could not be commenced before 1813, 
which, when the extent of them is considered, will explain why the 
publication did not take place sooner; but it is hoped that the 
advantage in point of accuracy will amply compensate the delay. 

Besides correcting the lunar distances and the variations and 
bearings, there are some other particulars, both in the account of the 
voyage and in the Atlas, where the practiceof former navigators has 
not been strictly followed. Latitudes, longitudes, and bearings, so 
important to the seaman and ^interesting to the general reader, 
have hitherto been interwoven in the text ; they are here commonly 
separated from it, by which the one will be enabled to find them 
more readily, and the other perceive at a glance what may be 
passed. I heard it declared that a man who published a quarto 
volume* without an index ought to be set in the pillory, and being 
unwilling to incur the full rigour of this sentence, a running title 
has been affixed to all the pages; on one side is expressed the coun- 
try or coast, and on the opposite the particular part where the 
ship is at anchor or which is the immediate subject of examination ; 
this, it is hoped, will answer the main purpose of an index, with- 
out swelling the volumes. Longitude is one of the most essential, 

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but at the same time least certain data in hydrography ; the man of 
science therefore requires something more than the general result 
of observations before giving his unqualified assent to their accuracy, 
and the progress of knowledge has of late been such, that a com- 
mander now wishes to know the foundation upon which he is to 
rest his confidence and the safety of his ship ; to comply with this 
laudable desire, the particular results of the observations by which 
the most important points on each coast are fixed in longitude, as 
also the means used to obtain them, are given at the end of the 
volume wherein that coast is described, as being there of most easy 

The deviations in the Atlas from former practice, or rather the 
additional marks used, are intended to make the charts contain as 
full a journal of the voyage as can be conveyed in this form ; a 
chart is the seaman's great, and often sole guide, and if the infor- 
mation in it can be rendered more complete without introducing 
confusion, the advantage will be admitted by those who are not 
opposers of all improvement. In closely following a track laid 
. down upon a chart, seamen often run at night, unsuspicious of 
danger if none be marked; but some parts of that track were 
run in the night also, and there may consequently be rocks or 
shoals, as near even as half a mile, which might prove fatal to them ; 
it therefore seems proper that night tracks should be distinguished 
from those of the day, and they are so in this Atlas, I believe, for 
the first time. A distinction is made between the situations at noon 
where the latitude was observed, and those in which none could be 
obtained ; and the positions fixed in longitude by the time keepers 
are also marked in the track, as are the few points where a latitude 
was obtained from the moon. 

It has appeared to me, that to show the direction and strength of 
the winds, with the kind of weather we had when running along 

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these coasts, would be an useful addition to the charts; not only as 
it would enable those who may navigate by them alone to form a 
judgment of what is to be expected at the same season, but also that 
it may be seen how far circumstances prevented several parts of 
the coast being laid down so correctly as others. This has been 
done by single arrows, wherever they could be marked without 
confusion ; they are more or less feathered, proportionate to the 
strength of wind intended to be expressed, and the arrows them- 
selves give the direction. Under each is a short or abridged word, 
denoting the weather ; when this weather prevailed in a more than 
usual degree a line is drawn under the word, and when in an ex- 
cessive degree tfcere are two lines. Single arrows being thus 
appropriated to the winds, the tides and currents are shown by 
double arrows, between which is usually marked the rate per hour. 

On the land, the shading of the hills gives a general idea of their 
elevation, and it has been assisted by saying how far particular hills 
and capes are visible from a ship's deck in fine weather; this will 
be useful to a seaman on first making the land, be a better criterion 
to judge of its height, and those hills not so marked may be more 
nearly estimated by comparison. Behind different parts of the 
coast is given a short description of their appearance, which it is 
.conceived will be gratifying to scientific, and useful to professional 
men. The capes and hills whose positions are fixed by cross 
bearings taken on shore or from well ascertained points in the track, 
as also the stations whence bearings were observed with a theodolite, 
have distinguishing marks ; which, with all others not before in 
common use, are explained on the General Chart, Plate I. 

To have laid down no more than the lands and dangers seen in 
the Investigator and other vessels under my command, would have 
left several open spaces, and obliged the seaman to have recourse 
to other charts where the difference of positions might have 

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perplexed; the discoveries and examinations of former navigators 
which come within the sphere of each sheet, are therefore incorpo- 
rated with, or added to mine, but so marked as to be distinctly 
known. In making the combination, alterations in their longitudes 
were frequently necessary to agreement ; and that they might be 
made with every regard to accuracy, the charts of the former 
discoveries were compared with the astronomical observations, 
narratives, or manuscript journals, when such could be had, and the 
alterations introduced where there seemed to be the best authority. 
This has been done with the charts of the east coast of New South 
Wales, published by Mr. Dalrymple from the manuscripts, as it 
should appear, of captain Cook ; and since it may be thought pre- 
sumptuous in me to have made alterations in any work of so great 
a master, this case is selected for a more particular explanation. 

Time keepers were in their infancy in 1768, when captain Cook 
sailed upon his first voyage, and he was not then furnished with 
them ; his longitude was therefore regulated only by occasional 
observations of lunar distances and some few of Jupiter's satellites, 
which even in the present improved state of instruments and tables, 
require to be connected by time keepers before satisfactory conclu- 
sions can be drawn. Errors of greater or less magnitude were 
thence unavoidable ; at Cape Gloucester, where I quitted the. East 
Coast, my longitude was 20j greater than captain Cook's chart,— at 
Cape York where the survey was again resumed, it was 583-'; and 
to incorporate the intermediate parts, it was necessary not only to 
carry his scale of longitude 90% more west, but also to reduce the 
extent of the coast. The chart was compared with the narrative 
and chart in Hawkesworth, and the leg book of the Endeavour 
with them all ; when it was found that reductions might be made 
in various places upon one or more of the above authorities, for 
differences between them were frequent and sometimes considerable, 

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and in one instance alone a reduction of 12' in the chart was obtained. 
It is said in Hawkesworth (HI, 20ft), " As soon as we got within 
side the reef (through Providential Channel) we anchored in 
nineteen fathom;" and afterwards (p. 204), that the channel 
" bore E. N. E. distant ten or twelve miles." In the first chart 
the distance is 14^ miles, and nearly the same in that which accom- 
panies the narrative; but in the log book it is said to be 2^ miles only, 
which corresponds with having anchored as soon as they got within 
the reef, and has been adopted. In some cases it was not easy to 
make a choice between these different authorities ; but I have com- 
monly followed the narrative and log book when they were found 
to specify with precision, and they generally produced such 
corrections to the chart as brought the longitudes of places nearer 
to my positions. Captain Cook's track in Plates XI. XII. and XIIL 
is laid down afresh from the log book ; and many soundings, with 
some other useful particulars riot to be found in the original chart, 
are introduced, for the benefit of any navigator who may follow 
the same route. 

The reconstruction of the charts in the Atlas was done ^upon 
various scales, but that no error might escape unseen, the least was 
of ten inches to a degree of longitude ; they were then reduced 
by Mr. Thomas Arrowsmith to four inches, this being thought 
sufficiently large for a general sailing scale ; and each reduced 
sheet was scrupulously compared by me with the original before 
it went into the engravers hands, and the proof impressions with 
the drawing until no errors were found. To those who may read 
this voyage with a view to geographical information, a frequent 
reference to the Atlas is earnestly recommended ; for many par- 
ticulars are there marked which it would have been tedious to 
describe, and should any thing appear obscure in the narrative the 
charts will generally afford an elucidation. 

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From the general tenour of the explanations here given, it will 
perhaps be inferred that the perfection of the Atlas has been the 
princiral object of concern; in fact, having no pretension to author- 
ship, the writing of the narrative, though by much the most trouble- 
some part of my labour, was not that upon which any hope of 
reputation was founded ; a polished style was therefore not attempted, 
but some pains have been taken to render it clearly intelligible. 
The first quire of my manuscript was submitted to the judgment 
of a few literary friends, and I hope to have profited by the cor- 
rections they had the kindness to make ; but finding these to bear 
more upon redundancies than inaccuracy of expression, I determined 
to confide in the indulgence of the public, endeavour to improve 
as the work advanced, and give my friends no further trouble. 
Matter, rather than manner, was the object of my anxiety ; and if 
the reader shall be satisfied with the selection and arrangement, 
and not think the information destitute of such interest as might 
be expected from the subject, the utmost of my hopes will be 

N. B. Throughout this narrative the variation has been allowed upon 
the bearings, and also in the direction of winds, tides, &c; the whole 
are therefore to be considered with reference to the true poles of the 
earth, unless it be otherwise particularly expressed ; and perhaps in 
some few cases of the ship's head when variations are taken, where 
the expression by compass, or magnetic, may have been omitted. 

vol. i. * B 

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Preliminary Remarks : Discover ies i of the Duyfhen ; of Torres 5 Carstens; Pool; Pietersen; 
Tasman ; and of three Dutch vessels. Of Cook ; M'Cluer ; Bligh ; Edwards ; Bligh 
and Portlock ; and Bampton and Alt. Conclusive Remarks. Page vii to xlviii 



Preliminary Observations. Discoveries of Hartog : Edel : of the ship Leeuwin : the 

Vianen: ofPelsert: Tasman: Dampier: Vlaming: Dampier. Conclusive Remarks. 

xlix to Ixvii 


Discovery of Nuyts. Examination of Vancouver : of D'Entrecasteaux. Conclusive 
Remarks. - - lxviii to lxxiv 



Preliminary Observations. Discoveries of Tasman 5 of Cook ; Marion 5 and Furneaux. 

Observations of Cook ; Bligh ;* and Cox. Discovery of D'Entrecasteaux. Hayes. 

lxxv to xciv 

Preliminary Information. Boat expeditions of Bass and Flinders. Clarke. Shortland. 

Discoveries of Bass to the southward of Port Jackson ; of Flinders ; and of Flinders 

and Bass. Examinations to the northward by Flinders. Conclusive Remarks. 

xcv to cciv 

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Appointment to the Investigator. Outfit of the ship. Instruments, books, and charts 
suopli d, with articles for presents and barter. Liberal conduct of the Hon. East-India 
Company. Passage round to Spithe^d. The Roar sand. Instructions for the execution 
of the voyage. French passport, and orders in consequence. Officers and company of 
the Investigator, and men of science who embarked. Account of the time keepers. 

Page 1 to 16 


Departure from Spithead. Variation of the compass. The Dezertas. Arrival at Madeira. 

Remarks on Funchal. Political state of the island. Latitude and longitude. Departure 

from Madeira. The island St. Antonio. Foul winds ; and remarks on them. The ship 

leaky. Search made for Isle Sable. Trinidad. Saxemberg sought for. Variation or the 

compass. State of the ship's company, on arriving at the Cape of Good Hope. Refit- 

1 ment at Simon's Bay. Observatory set up. The astronomer quits the expedition. 

Rates of the time keepers. Some remarks on Simon's Bay. - 17 to 43 


Departure from False Bay. Remarks on the passage to Terra Australis. Gravity of sea 
water tried. Cape Leeuwin, and the coast from thence to King George's Sound. Arri- 
val in the Sound. Examination of the harbours. Excursion inland. Country, soil, and 
productions. Native inhabitants : Language and anatomical measurement. Astrono- 
mical and nautical observations. - - 44 to 72 


Departure from King George's Sound. Coast from thence to the Archipelago of the 

Recherche. Discovery of Lucky Bay and Thistle's Cove. The surrounding country, and 

islands of the Arcliipelago. Astronomical and nautical observations. Goose-Island 

Bay. A salt lake. Nautical observations. Coast from the Archipelago to the end of 

Nuyts' Land. Arrival in a bay of the unknown coast. Remarks on the preceding 

examination 73 to 103 


Fowler's Bay. Departure from thence. Arrival at the Isles of St. Francis. Correspondence 

between the winds and the marine barometer. Examination of the other parts of Nuyts* 

Archipelago, and of the main coast. The Isles of St. Peter. Return to St. Francis. 

General remarks on Nuyts' Archipelago. Identification of the islands in the Dutch 

chart. - - - 104 to 119 

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Prosecution of the discovery of the unknown coast. Anxious Bay. Anchorage at 
Waldegrave's and at Flinders* Islands- The Investigator's Group. Coffin's Bay. 
Whidbey's Isles. Differences iu the magnetic needle. Cape Wiles. Anchorage at 
Thistle's Island. Thorny Passage. Fatal accident. Anchorage in Memory Cove. 
Cape 'Catastrophe, and the surrounding country. jAnchorage in Port Lincoln, and 
refitment of the ship. Remarks on the country and inhabitants. Astronomical and 
nautical observations. ... Page 120 to 151 

Departure from Port Lincoln. Sir Joseph Banks' Group. Examination of the coast, 
northward. The ship found to be in a gulpb. Anchorage near the head of the gulph. 
Boat expedition. Excursion to Mount Brown. Nautical observations. Departure from 
the head, and examination of the east side of the gulph. Extensive shoal. Point Pearce. 
Hardwicke Bay. Verification of the time keepers. General remarks on the gulph. 
Cape Spencer and the Althorpe Isles. New land discovered : Anchorage there. General 
remarks on Kanguroo Island. Nautical observations. - 152 to 173 


Departure from Kanguroo Island. Examination of the main coast, from Cape Spencer 
eastward. The Investigator's Strait. A new gulph discovered. Anchorage at, and 
examination of the head. Remarks on the surrounding land. Return down the gulph. 
Troubridge Shoal. Yorke's Peninsula. Return to Kanguroo Island. Boat expedition 
to Pelican Lagoon. Astronomical observations. Kanguroo Island quitted. Back-stairs 
Passage. The coast from Cape Jervis, eastward. Meeting, and communication with 
Le G^ographe. Remarks upon the French discoveries on the South Coast. 174 to 193. 


Examination of the coast resumed. Encounter Bay. The capes Bernouilli and Jaffa. 
Baudin's Rocks. Differences in the bearings on tacking. Cape Buffon, the eastern 
limit of the French discovery. The capes Northumberland and Bridgewater of captain 
Grant. Danger from a south-west gale. King's Island, in Bas3' Strait : Anchorage 
there. Some account of the island. Nautical observations. New Year's Isles. Cape 
Otway, and the north-west entrance to Bass' Strait. Anchorage in, and examination 
of Port Phillip. The country and inhabitants. Nautical observations. 194 to 220. 


Departure from Port Phillip. Cape Schanck. Wilson's Promontory, and its isles. Kent's 
Groups, and Furneaux's Isles. Hills behind the Long Beach. Arrival at Port Jack- 
son. Health of the ship's company. Refitment and supply of the ship. Price of 

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provisions. Volunteers entered. Arrangement for the succeeding part of the voyage. 
French ships. Astronomical and nautical observations. Page 22 1 to 239 


Of the winds and currents on the south coast of Terra Australis, and in Bass* Strait. 
Uusual progress of the gales. Proper seasons for sailing eastward, and for going 
westward: best places of shelter in either case, with some instructions for the 
Strait. - - - - - - 240 to 251 


Account of the observations by which the Longitudes of places on the north coast of 
Terra Australis have been settled. 255 to 269 





Departure from Port Jackson, with the Lady Nelson. Examination of various parts of 
the East Coast, from thence to Sandy Cape. Break-sea Spit. Anchorage in Hervey's 
Bay, where the Lady Nelson joins after a separation. Some account of the inhabi- 
tants. Variations of the compass. Run to Bustard Bay'. Port Curtis discovered, and 
examined. Some account of the surrounding country. Arrival in Keppel Bay, and 
examination of its branches, one of which leads into Port Curtis. Some account of 
the natives, and of the country round Keppel Bay. Astronomical and nautical 
observations. • - - - - 1 to 32 

The Keppel Isles, and coast to Cape Manifold. A new port discovered and examined. 
Harvey's Isles. A new passage into Shoal-water Bay. View from Mount Westall. 
A boat lost. The. upper parts of Shoal- water Bay examined. Some account of the 
country and inhabitants. General remarks on the bay. Astronomical and nautical 
observations. - - - - - 33 to 52 

Departure ftpm Shoal-water Bay, and anchorage in Thirsty Sound* Magnetical obser- 

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rations. Boat excursion to the nearest Northumberland Islands. Remarks on Thirsty 
Sound* Observations at West Hill, Broad Sound. Anchorage near Upper Head. 
Expedition to the head of Broad Sound : another round Long Island. Remarks on 
Broad Sound, and the surrounding country. Advantages for a colony. Astronomical 
observations, and remarks on the high tides. - - Page 58 to 76 

The Percy Isles : anchorage at No. 2. Boat excursions. Remarks on the Percy Isles ; 
with nautical observations. Coral reefs : courses amongst them during eleven days 
search for a passage through, to sea. Description of a reef. Anchorage at an eastern 
Cumberland Isle. The Lady Nelson sent back to Port Jackson. Continuation of 
coral reefs ; and courses amongst them during three other days. Cape Gloucester. An 
opening discovered, and the reefs quitted. General remarks on the Great Barrier j 
with some instruction relative to the opening. • - - 77 to 104 

Passage from the Barrier Reefs to Torres' Strait. Reefs named Eastern Fields. Pan- 
dora's Entrance to the Strait. Anchorage at Murray's Islands. Communication with 
the inhabitants. Half-way Island. Notions on the formation of coral islands in general. 
Prince of Wales's Islands, with remarks on them. Wallis' Isles. Entrance into the 
Gulph of Carpentaria. Revifew of the passage through Torres' Strait. 105 to 123 


Examination of the coast on the east side of the Gulph of Carpentaria. Landing at 
Coen River. Head of the Gulph. Anchorage at Sweers' Island. Interview with 
Indians at Horse-shoe Island. Investigator's Road. The ship found to be in a state 
of decay. General remarks on the islands at the Head of the Gulph, and their inhabi- 
tants. Astronomical and nautical observations. - - • 124 to 150 


Departure from Sweers* Island. South side of C. Van Diemen examined. Anchorage 
at Bountiful Island : turtle and sharks there. Land of C. Van Diemen proved to be 
an island. Examination of the main coast to Cape Vanderlin. That cape found to be 
one of a group of islands. Examination of the islands ; their soil, &c. Monument 
of the natives. Traces of former visitors to these parts. Astronomical and nautical 
observations. - - - - - 151 to 176 


Departure from Sir Edward Pellew's Group. Coast from thence westward. Cape 
Maria found to be an island. Limmen's Bight. Coast northward to Cape Barrow; 

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landing on it. Circumnavigation of Groote Eylandt. Specimens of native art at 
Chasm Island. Anchorage in North west Bay, Groote Eylandt 5 with remarks and 
nautical observations. Blue-mud Bay. Skirmish with the natives. Cape Shield. 
Mount Grindall. Coast to Caledon Bay. Occurrences in that hay, with remarks on 
the country and inhabitants. Astronomical and nautical observations. 177 to 218 

Departure from Caledon Bay. Cape Arnhem. Melville Bay. Cape Wilberforce, and 
Brortiby's Isles. The English Company's Islands : meeting there with vessels from 
Macassar. Arnhem Bay. The WesseFs Islands. Further examination of the North 
Coast postponed. Arrival at Coepang Bay, in Timor. Remarks and astronomical 
observations. * - - - - 219 to 259 


Departure from Timor. Search made for the Trial Rocks. Anchorage in Goose-Island 
Bay. Interment of the boatswain, and sickly state of the ship's company. Escape 
from the bay, and passage through Bass' Strait. Arrival at Port Jackson. Losses in 
men. Survey and condemnation of the ship. Plans for continuing the survey; but 
preparation finally made for returning to England. State of the colony at Port Jackson. 

260 to 281 

Of the winds, currents, and navigation along the east coast of Terra Australia, both 
without and within the tropic ; also on the north coast. Directions for sailing from 
Port Jackson, through Torres' Strait, towards India or the Cape of Good Hope. Ad- 
vantages of this passage over that round New Guinea. - - 282 to 294 





Departure from Port Jackson in, the Porpoise, accompanied by the Bridgewater and Cato. 
The Cato's Bank. Shipwreck of the Porpoise and Cato in the night. The crVwsget 
on a sand bank ; where they are left by the Bridgewater. Provisions saved. Regulations 
on the bank. Measures adopted for getiing back to Port Jackson. Description of 
Wrecl^-Reef Bank. Remarks on tiie loss of M. de laP&rouse. v - 2\)5 to 314 

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Departure from Wreck-Reef Bank in a boat. Boisterous weather. The Coast of New 
South Wales reached, and followed. Natives at Point Look-out. Landing near 
Smoky Cape ; and again near Port Hunter. Arrival at Port Jackson on the thirteenth 
day. Return to Wreck Reef with a ship and two schooners. Arrangements at the 
Bank. Account of the reef, with nautical and other remarks. - Page 315 to 333 


Passage in the Cumberland to Torres* Strait. Eastern Fields and Pandora's Entrance. 
New channels amongst the reefs. Anchorage at Half-way Island, and under the York 
Isles. Prince of Wales's Islands further examined. Booby Isle. Passage across the 
Gulph of Carpentaria. Anchorage at Wessel's Islands. Passage to Coepang Bay, in 
Timor; and to Mauritius, where the leakiness of the Cumberland makes it necessary 
to stop. Anchorage at the Baye du Cap, and departure for Port Louis. 334 to 358 


Arrival at Port Louis (or North-West) in Mauritius. Interview with the French governor. 
Seizure of the Cumberland, with the charts and journals of the Investigator's voyage ; 
and imprisonment of the commander and people. Letters, to the governor, with his 
answer. Restitution of some books and charts. Friendly act of the English interpreter. 
Propositions made to the governor. Humane conduct of captain Bergeret. Reflec- 
tions, on a voyage of discovery. Removal to the Maison Despeaux or Garden Prison. 

359 to 389 

Prisoners in the Maison Despeaux or Garden Prison. Application to admiral Linois. 
Spy-glasses and swords taken. Some papers restored. Opinions upon the detention of 
the Cumberland. Letter of captain Baudin. An English squadron arrives off Mau- 
ritius : its consequences. Arrival of a French officer with despatches, and observations 
thereon. Passages in the Moniteur, with remarks. Mr. Aken liberated. Arrival of 
cartels from India. Application made by the marquis Wellesley. Different treatment 
of English and French prisoners. Prizes brought to Mauritius in sixteen months. 
Departure of all prisoners of war. Permission to quit the Garden Prison. Astrono- 
mical observations. - - ~ - 390 to 417 


Parole given. Journey into the interior of Mauritius. The governor's country seat. 
Residence at the Refuge, in that Part of Wilhems Plains called Vacouas. Its situa- 
tion and climate, with the mountains, rivers, cascades, and views near it. The Mare 

. aux Vacouas and Grand Bassin. State of cultivation and produce of Vacouas ; its 
black ebony, game, and wild fruits ; and freedom from noxious insects. 418 to 438 
VOL. II, * C 

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Occupations at Vacouas. Hospitality of the inhabitants. Letters from England. Re- 
fusal to be sent to France repeated. Account of two hurricanes, of a subterraneous 
stream and circular pit. Habitation of La P&ouse. Letters to the French marine 
minister, National Institute, &c. Letters from Sir Edward Pellew. Caverns in the 
Plains of St. Pierre. Visit to Port Louis. Narrative transmitted to England. Letter 
to captain Bergeret on his departure for France. - - Page 439 to 455 


Effects of repeated disappointment on the mind. Arrival of a cartel, and of letters from 
India. Letter of the French marine minister. Restitution of papers. Applications for 
liberty evasively answered. Attempted seizure of private letters. Memorial to the 
marine minister. Encroachments made at Paris on the Investigator's discoveries. 
Expected attack on Mauritius produces an abridgment of Liberty. Strict blockade. 
Arrival of another cartel from India. State of the public finances in Mauritius. 
French cartel sails for the Cape of Good Hope, - 456 to 477 


A prospect of liberty, which is officially confirmed. Occurrences during eleven weeks 
residence in the town of Port Louis and on board the Harriet cartel. Parole and cer- 
tificates. Departure from Port Louis, and embarkation in the Otter. Eulogium on 
the inhabitants of Mauritius. Review of the conduct of general De Caen. Passage 
to the Cape of Good Hope, and after seven weeks stay, from thence to England. 
Conclusion. - - - - - - - 478 to 496 


No. I. 

Account of the observations by which the Longitudes of places on the east and north 
coasts of Terra Australis have been settled. - 498 to 51 1 

No. II. 

On the errors of the compass arising from attractions within the ship, and others from 
the magnetism of land ; with precautions for obviating their effects in marine sur- 
veying. - - - - 512 to 532 

No. HI. 

General Remarks, geographical and systematical, on the Botany of Terra Australis. By 
Robert Brown, F. R.S. Acad. Reg. Scient. Berolin. Corresp* Naturalist to 
THfe voyage* 533 

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View from the south side of King George's Sound. 
Entrance of Port Lincoln, taken from behind Memory Cove. 
View on the north side of Kangujoo Island. 
View of Port Jackson, taken from the South Head. 

to face p. GO 

- 227 


View of Port Bowen, from behind the Watering Gully. 
View of Murray's Islands, with the natives offering to barter. 
View in Sir Edward Pellew's Group— Gulph of Carpentaria. 
View of Malay Road, from Pobassoo's Island. 
View of Wreck-Reef Bank, taken at low water. 


- 110 






I. General Chart of Terra Australis and the neighbouring lands, from latitude 7* 

to 44£° south, and longitude 102° to 165° east. 
II. Particular chart of the South Coast, from Cape Leeuwin to the Archipelago of the 

III. Ditto from the Archipelago of the Recherche to past the head of the great Aus- 

tralian Bight. 

IV. Ditto from the head of the great Australian Bight to past Encounter Bay. 

V. Ditto from near Encounter Bay to Cape Otway at the west entrance of Bass' Strait. 
VI. Ditto from Cape Otway, past Cape Howe, to Barmouth Creek. 
VII. Particular chart of Van Diemen's Land. 
VIII. Particular chart of the East Coast, from Barmouth Creek to past Cape Hawke. 

IX. Ditto from near Cape Hawke to past Glass-house Bay. 

X. Ditto from Glass-house Bay to Broad Sound. 

XI. Ditto from Broad Sound to Cape Grafton. 

XII. Ditto from Cape Grafton to the Isle of Direction. 

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XIII, Particular chart. of the East Coast from the I. of Direction to Cape York, and of 

the North Coast from thence to Pera Head ; including Torres' Strait and parts of 
New Guinea. 

XIV. A particular chart of the North Coast, from Torres* Strait to Point Dale and the 

Wessel's Islands, including the whole of the Gulph of Carpentaria. 
XV. The north-west side of the Gulph of Carpentaria, on a large scale. 

XVI. Particular chart of Timor and some neighbouring islands. 

XVII. Fourteen views of headlands, &c. on the south coast of Terra Australis. 
XVIII. Thirteen views on the east and north coasts, and one of Samow Strait. 

Ten plates of selected plants from different parts of Terra Australis. 



Vol. I. Page xcv, xcvi, various places,/or Philip, read Phillip, 
cix, margin,/**- Pi. VII, read PI. VI. 
cxxi, line 26, insert in the margin (Atl. PI. VI.) 

clxxiii, 24, insert in the margin (Atl. Pi. VII.) 

13,— 13, for uivre, read suivre. 
123,— title, for From ftuyt$ y Archipelago, read Investigator 9 $ Group. 

148, 18, for heat, read head. 

153,—— Sltfor Point Donington, read Cape Donington. 

800, 8,/or 4*°, 7* 6| , read respectively 5°, 6 J°, 5* 64'. 

12,/or 5° 35' read 5° 33'. 

2&6,— 28,29,/or diminished, read corrected. 

Vol. II. 73 , 21, for second , read first. 

150, 3, 4, for three hours and a quarter before the moon came to, read 

nine hours and three quarters after the moon passed. 

227, title, for Gulph of Carpentaria, read MelvUU Bay. 

471, $0 9 for Corallne, read Caroline. 

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Ihe Voyages which had been made, during the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, by Dutch and by English navigators, had 
successively brought to light various extensive coasts* in the southern 
hemisphere, which were thought to be united ; and to comprise a 
land, which must be nearly equal in magnitude to the whole of 
Europe. To this land, though known to be separated from all 
other great portions of the globe, geographers were disposed to 
give the appellation of Continent : but doubts still existed, of the 
continuity of its widely extended shores ; and it was urged, that, as 
our knowledge of some parts was not founded upon well authenti- 
cated information, and we were in total ignojance of som£ others, 
these coasts might, instead of forming one great land, be no other 
than parts of different large islands. 

The establishment, in 1788, of a British colony on the easternmost, 
and last discovered, of these new regions, had added that degree of 
interest to the question of their continuity, which a mother country 
takes in favour, even, of her outcast children, to know the form, 
extent, and general nature of the land, where they may be placed. 
The question had, therefore, ceased to be one in which geography 
was alone concerned : it claimed the paternal consideration of the 
father of all his people, and the interests of the national commerce 
seconded the call for investigation. . 

vol. 1. B 

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Accordingly, the following voyage was undertaken by command 
of His Majesty, in the year 1801 ; in a ship of 334 tons, which 
received the appropriate name of the Investigator ; and, besides the 
great objects of clearing up the doubt respecting the unity of these 
southern regions, and of opening therein fresh sources to commerce, 
and new ports to seamen, it was intended, that the voyage should 
contribute to the advancement of natural knowledge in various 
branches ; and that some parts of the neighbouring seas should be 
visited, wherein geography and navigation had still much to desire. 

The vast regions to which this voyage was principally directed, 
comprehend, in the western part, the early discoveries of the Dutch, 
under the name of New Holland; and in the «ast, the coasts 
explored by British navigators, and named New South Wales. It 
has not, however, been unusual to apply the first appellation to both 
regions ; but to continue this, would be almost as great an injustice 
to the British nation, whose seamen have had so large a share in the 
discovery, as it would be to the Dutch, were New South Wales to 
be so extended. This appears to have been felt by a neighbouring, 
and even rival, nation'; whose writers commonly speak of these 
countries under the general term of Terres Australes. In fact, the 
original name, used by the -Dutch themselves until some time after 
Tasman's second voyage, in 1644, was Terra Australis, or Great 
South Land; and when it was displaced by New Holland, the new 
term was applied only to the parts lying westward of a meridian 
line, passing through Arnhem's Land on the north, and near the 
isles of St. Francis and St. Peter, on the south : all to the eastward, 
including the shores of the Gulph of Carpentaria, still remained as 
Terra Australis. This appears from a chart published by Thevenot, 
in 1663 ; which, he says, " was originally taken from that done in 
inlaid work, upon the pavement of the new Stadt-House at Amster- 
dam/'* The same thing is to be inferred from the notes of Burgo- 

* " La carte que Ton a mise icy, tire sa premiere origine de celle que Ton a fait tailler 

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master Witsen, in 1705 ; of which there will be occasion to speak 
in the sequel. 

It is necessary, however, to geographical precision, that so soon 
as New Holland and New South Wales were known to form one 
land, there should be a general name applicable to the whole ; and this 
essential point having been ascertained in the present voyage, with 
a degree of certainty sufficient to authorise the measure, I have, 
with the concurrence of opinions entitled to deference, ventured 
upon the re-adoption of the original Terra Australis ; and of this 
term I shall hereafter make use, when speaking of New Holland 
and New South Wales, in a collective sense ; and when using it in 
the most extensive signification, the adjacent isles, including that of 
Van Diemen, must be understood to be comprehended. 

There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of 
nearly equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude ; 
the name Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the 
geographical importance of this country, and of its situation on the 
globe: it has antiquity to recommend it; and, having no reference 
to either of the two claiming nations, appears to be less objectionable 
than any other which could have been selected.* 

In dividing New South Wales from New Holland, I have been 
guided by the British patent to the first governor of the new colony, 
at Port Jackson. In this patent, a meridian, nearly corresponding 
to the ancient line of separation, between New Holland and Terra 
Australis, has been made the western limit of New Sotith Wales ; 
and is fixed at the longitude of 135 east, from the meridiart of 
Greenwich. From hence, the British territory extends eastward, 

de pieces rapport&s, sur le pav6 de la nouvelle Maison-de-Ville d'Amsterdam ." Bila- 
tions de divers Voyages curieux.— Avis, 

* Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been 
to convert it into Australia; as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to 
the names of the other great portions of the earth. 

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to the islands of the Pacific , or Great Ocean: its northern limit is at 
Cape Tork; and the extremity of the southern Van Diemen's Land, 
is its opposite boundary. 

The various discoveries which had been made upon the coasts of 
Terra Australis, antecedently to the present voyage, are of dates as 
widely distant, as are the degrees of confidence to which they are 
respectively entitled; the accounts, also, lie scattered through 
various books in different languages ; and many are still in manu- 
script. It has, therefore, been judged, that a succinct history of these 
discoveries would be acceptable to the public ; and would form an 
appropriate introduction to a voyage, whose principal object was to 
complete what they had left unfinished. Such a history will not 
only, it is hoped, be found interesting, but, from the occasions it will 
furnish to point out what remained to be done at the beginning of 
, the nineteenth century, will satisfy a question which may be asked : 
Why it should have been thought necessary to send another expedi- 
tion to explore the coasts of a country, concerning which it has 
been said, near thirty years ago, — " It is no longer a doubt, that we 
have now a full knowledge of the whole circumference of this vast 
body of land, this fifth part of the world/'* An expression, which 
the learned writer could have intended to apply only to the general 
extent of the new continent, and not to the particular formation of 
every part of the coasts ; since the chart, which accompanies the 
voyage of which he was writing the introduction, represents much 
of the south coast, as being totally unknown.. 

In tracing a historical sketch of the previous discoveries, I shall 
not dwell upon such as depend upoo conjecture and probability, 
but come speedily to those, for which there are authentic documents. 
In this latter, and solely important, class, the articles extracted from 
voyages, which are in the hands of the public, will be abridged to 
their leading heads; and the reader referred, for the details, to 

* Cook's third Voyage, Introduction, p. xv. 

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the original works ; but in such articles as have either not appeared 
before, or but very imperfectly, in an English dress, as also in those 
extracted from unpublished manuscripts, a wider range will be 
taken : in these, so far as the documents go, on the one hand, and 
the limits of an introduction can allow, on the other, no interesting 
fact will be omitted. 

Conformably to this plan, no attempt will be made to investigate 
the claims of the Chinese to the earliest knowledge of Terra 
Australis; which some, from the chart of Marco Polo, have thought 
they possessed. Nor yet will much be said upon the plea advanced 
by the Abbe Prevost,* and after him by the President Debrosses,^ 
in favour of Paulmier de Gonneville, a French captain ; for whom 
they claim the honour of having discovered Terra Australis, in 1504. 
It is evident from the proofs they adduce, that it was not to any part 
,of this country, but to Madagascar, that Gonneville was driven ; 
and from whence he brought Ws prince Essomeric, to Normandy. 

Within these few years, however, two curious manuscript charts 
have been brought to light ; which have favoured an opinion, that 
Terra Australis had really been visited by Europeans, nearly a 
century before any authentic accounts speak of its discovery. One 
of these charts is in French, without date; and from its almost exact 
similitude, is probably either the original, or a copy of the other, 
which is in English ; and bears, with the date 154s, a dedication to 
the King of England. J In it, an extensive country is marked to 
the southward of the Moluccas, under the name of Great Java ; 
which agrees nearer with the position and extent of Terra Australis, 
than with any other land ; and the direction given to some parts of 

* Histoire generate des Voyages. Tome XVI. (k la Haye) p. 7— 14. 

t Histoire des Navigations aux.Terres Australes. Tome I. p. 102—120. 

% A more particular account of these charts, now in the British Museum, will be found 
in Captain Burney's « History of Discoveries in the South Sea." Vol. I. p. 379—383. 
An opinion is there expressed concerning the early discoveries in these regions, which is 
entitled to respectful attention. 

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the coast, approaches too near to the truth, for the whole to have 
been marked from conjecture alone. But, combining this with the 
exaggerated extent of Great Java in a southern direction, and the 
animals and houses painted upon the shores, such as have not been 
any where seen in Terra Australis, it should appear to have been 
partly formed from vague information, collected, probably, by the 
early Portuguese navigators, from the eastern nations; and that 
conjecture has done the rest. It may, at the same time, be admitted, 
that a part of the west and north-west coasts, where the coincidence 
of form is most striking, might have been seen by the Portuguese 
themselves, before the year 1540, in their voyages to, and from, 

But quitting those claims to original discovery, in which conjec- 
ture bears so large a share, we come to such as are supported by 
undeniable documents. Before entering upon these, it is proper to 
premise, that, instead of following precisely the order of time, these 
discoveries will be classed under the heads of the different coasts 
upon which they were made : an arrangement which will obviate 
the confusion that would arise from being carried back from one 
coast to another, as must, of necessity, be the case, were the chrono- 
logical order to be strictly followed. 

The discoveries made in Terra Australis, prior to the Investigator's 
voyage, will, therefore, be divided into four Sections, under the 
following heads: 1. The North Coast; 2. The Western Coasts; 
5. The South Coast; and, 4. The East Coast with Van £>iemen's 
Land. But the articles in the fourth Section, being numerous and 
more extensive, will be divided into two parts: Part I. will contain 
the early discoveries, and such of the later, as were made indepen- 
dently of the British colony in New South Wales ; and Part II. 
those which were made in vessels sent from that colony; and which 
may be considered as a consequence of its establishment. 

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Preliminary Remarks: Discoveries of the Duyfhen; of Torres; Carstens; 
Pool; Pietersen; Tasman; and of three Dutch Vessels. Of Cook; 
M c . Cluer; Bligh; Edwards; Bligh and Portlock; and Hampton 
and Alt. Conclusive Remarks. 

I he late Hydrographer to the Admiralty, Alexander Dalrymplf, Preliminary 
Esq., in his curious Collection cencerning Papua, published^ with a emar 
translation, a paper which furnishes more regular and authentic 
accounts of the early Dutch discoveries in the East, than any thing 
with which the public was before acquainted. This interesting 
paper was procured by the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks ; and is. a 
copy of the instructions to commodore Abel Jansz Tasman, for his 
second voyage of discovery : It is dated January 29, 1644, from the 
Castle of Batavia, and signed by the governor-general Antonio Van 
Diemen, and by Vander Lyn, Maatsuyker 9 Schouten, and Sweets \ 
members of the council. The instructions are prefaced with a 
recital, in chronological order, of the previous discoveries of the 
Dutch, whether made from accident or design, in Nova Guinea, 
and the Great South Land ; and from this account, combined with 
a passage from Saris,* it appears, that — 

On the 18th of November 1605, the Dutch yacht, the Duyfhen, TheDuufhm. 
was dispatched from Bantam to explore the islands of New Guinea ; 

* Purchas, Vol. I. p. 385. 

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viii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

TheDutfhen. and that she sailed along, what was thought to be, the west side of 
that country, to 13$° of south latitude. " This extensive country 
" was found, for the greatest part, desart; but, in some places, 
" inhabited by wild, cruel, black savages; by whom some of the 
" crew were murdered. For which reason they could not learn 
" anything of the land, or waters, as had been desired of them ; 
" and, from want of provisions and other necessaries, they were 
" obliged to leave the discovery unfinished : The furthest point of the 
" land, in their map, was called Cape Keer-Weer," or Turn-again* 

(Atias,Pi.i.) The course of the Duyf hen, from New Guinea, was southward, 
along the islands on the west side of Torres' Strait, to that part of 
Terra Australis, a little to the west and south of Cape York ; but 
all these lands were thought to be connected, and to form the west 
coast of New Guinea. Thus, without being conscious of it, the 
commander of the Duyf hen made the first authenticated discovery 
of any part of the great South Land, about the month of March 
1606; for it appears, that he had returned to Banda in, or before, 
the beginning of June, of that year. 

Torres. Luis Vaes de Torres, a Spanish navigator, was the next person 
who saw Terra Australis ; and it is remarkable, that it was near 
the same place, and in the same year; and that he had as little 
knowledge of the nature of his discovery, as had the Duyf hen. 

Torres was second in command to Pedro Fernandez de Quiros ; 
when he skiled with three vessels, from the port of Callao in Peru, 
in the year 1605. One of the purposes of their expedition was to 
search for the Tierra Austral; a continent which was supposed 
to occupy a considerable portion of that part of the southern 
hemisphere lying westward of America. 

After the discovery of several islands, Quiros came to a land 
which he named Australia del Espiritu Santo, supposing it to 
be# part of the great Southern Continent ; but this, on his separa- 
tion from the admiral, Torres found could be no other than an 


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North Coast.} INTRODUCTION. ix 

island; and then continued his course westward, in prosecution of toi*«. 
the research. 160C - 

About the month of August 1606, and in latitude iii° south, he 
fell in with a coast, which he calls " the beginning of New Guinea;" 
and which appears to have been the south-eastern part of the land, 
afterwards named Louisiade, by Moris, de Bougainville, and now 
known to be a chain of islands. Unable to pass to windward of 
this land, Torres bore away along its south side; and gives, himself, 
the following account of his subsequent proceedings. 

" We went along 300 leagues of coast, as I have mentioned, 
" and diminished the latitude s£°, which brought us into 9 . From 
" hence we fell in with a bank of from 3 to 9 fathoms, which 
" extends along the coast above 180 leagues. We went over it 
" along the coast to 7^ S. latitude, and the end of it is in 5 . We 
" could not go further on for the many shoals and great currents, 
" so we were obliged to sail S. W. in that depth to 11 . S. latitude. 
" There is all over it an archipelago of islands without number, by 
u which we passed, and at the end of the 1 ith degree, the bank 
" became shoaler. Here were very large islands, and there appeared 
" more to the southward : they were inhabited by black people, 
" very corpulent, and naked : their arms were lances, arrows, and 
" clubs of stone ill fashioned. We could hot get any of their arms. 
" We caught in all this land so persons of different nations, that 
" with them we might be able to give a better account to Your 
l f Majesty. They give much notice of other people, although as 
u yet they do not make themselves well understood. 

" We were upon this bank two months, at the end of which time 
" we found ourselves in 25 fathoms, and in 5 S. latitude, and 10 
" leagues from the coast. And having gone 480 leagues, here the 
u coast goes to the N. E. I did not reach it, for the bank became % 
" very shallow. So we stood to the north."* 

* See the letter of Torres, dated Manila, July 1 2, 1607, in Vol. II. Appendix, No I. to 
Barney's " History of Discoveries in the South Sea;" from which this 
sketch of Torres* voyage is extracted. 

VOL. I. C 

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% INTRODUCTION. [Priot Discoveries. 

Torres. ** cannot be doubted, that the " very large island*'' seen by Torres, 
1606- at t h e llt j! degree of south latitude, were the hills of Cape York ; 
or that his two months of intricate navigation were employed in 
passing the strait which divides Terra Australia and New Guinea. 
But the account of this and other discoveries, which Torres himself 
addressed to the King of Spain, was so kept from die world, that 
the existence of such a strait Was generally unknown, until 1770; 
when it was again discovered and passed by our great circumnavi- 
gator Captain Cook. 

Torres, it should appear, took the precaution to lodge a copy of 
his letter in the archives of Manila ; for, after that city was taken 
by the British forces, in 176ft, Mr. Dalrymple found out, and drew 
from oblivion, this interesting document of early discovery; and, as a 
tribute due to the enterprising Spanish navigator, he named the pas- 
sage Torres' Strait ; and the appellation now generally prevails. 

z«achem. Zeachen is said to have discovered the land of Arnhem and the 
northern Van Diemen's Land, in 1618 ; and he is supposed, from 
the first name, to have been a native of Arnhem, in Holland ; and 
that the second was given in honour of the governor-general of the 
Indies.* But there are two important objections to the truth of this 
vague account : first, no mention is made of Zeachen in the recital 
of discoveries which preface the instructions to Tasman; nor is there 
any, of the North Coast having been visited by the Dutch, in that 
year: secondly, it appears from Valentyn's lives of the governors 
of Batavia, that Van Diemen was not governor-general until 
January 1, 1636. 

Carstins. The second expedition, mentioned in the Dutch recital, for the dis- 

16SS * covery of the Great South Land, " was undertaken in a yacht, in the 

year 1617, " with little success ;" and the journals and remarks were 

not to be found. In January 1623, the yachts Pera and Arnhem, 

* Hist, des Navigations aux Terres Just* Tome I. p. 482* 

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North Coast.] INTRODUCTION. xi 

under the command of Jan Carstens, were despatched from Amboina, camteks. 

by order of His Excellency Jan Keterz Coen. Carstens, with eight of l623# 

the Arnhem's crew, was treacherously murdered by the natives of 

New Guinea; but the vessels prosecuted the voyage, and discovered 

" the great islands Arnhem and the Spult/'* They were then 

" untimely separated/' and the Arnhem returned to Amboina. The 

Pera persisted; and " sailed along the south coast of New Guinea, 

" to a flat cove, situate in 10* south latitude ; and ran along the 

4€ West Coast of this land to Cape fCeer-Weer ; from thence dis* 

" covered the coast further southward, as far as 17% to Staten 

" River. From this place, what more of the land could be dis* 

u cerned, seemed to stretch westward:" the Pera then returned to 

Amboina. " In this discovery were found, every where, shallow 

" water and barren coasts ; islands altogether thinly peopled by 

" divers cruel, poor, and brutal nations ; and of very little jise to 

" the (Dutch East-India) Company/' 

Gerrit Tomaz Pool was sent, in April i6*j&, from Banda, with pool. 
the yachts Klyn Amsterdam and fFezel, upon the same expedition as 
Carstens ; and, at the same place, on the coast of New Guinea,, he 
met with the same fate. Nevertheless " the voyage was assiduously 
" continued under the charge of the supra-cargo Pietprz Pietersen ; phtbisek. 
u and the islands Key and Arouw visited. By reason of very strong I636, 
" eastwardly winds, they could not reach the west coast of New 
u Guinea (Carpentaria) ; but shaping their course very near south, 
" discovered the coast of Arnhem, or Van Diemen's Land, in n # 
" south latitude ; and sailed along the shore for 1*0 miles (30 
" mijlen), without seeing any people, but many signs of smoke." 

* In the old charts, a river Spult is marked, in the western part of Arnhem's Land; 
and it seems probable, that the land in its vicinity is here meant by Tjw Spult. 

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»» INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Ta&hk*. This is all that appears to have been known of the North Coast, 


when Abel Jansz Tasman sailed upon his second voyage, in 1644 ; 
for the instructions to him say, that after quitting " Point Ture, or 
" False Cape, situate in 8° on the south coast of New Guinea, you 
" are to continue eastward, along the coast, to g° south latitude; 
" crossing prudently the Cove at that place. Looking about the 
€€ high islands or Speulfs River, with the yachts, for a harbour ; 
" despatching the tender De Braak, for two or three days into the 
" Cove, in order to discover whether, within the Great Inlet, there 
" be not to be found an entrance into the South Sea.* From this 
" place you are to coast along the west coast of New Guinea, 
" (Carpentaria,) to the furthest discoveries in 17 south latitude; 
" following the coast further, as it may run, west or southward. 

" But it is to be feared you will meet, in these parts, with the 
" south-east trade winds; from which it will be difficult to keep the 
" coast on board, if stretching to the south-east ; but, notwith- 
" standing this, endeavour by all means to proceed ; that we may 
" be sure whether this land is divided from the Great Known South 
" Continent, or not." 

The Dutch had, by this time, acquired some knowledge of a part 
of the south coast of Terra Australis; of the west coast; and of a 
part of the north-west; and these are the lands meant by " the 
" Great Known South Continent." Arnhem's, and the northern 
Van Diemen's Lands, on the North Coast, are not included in the 
expression; for Tasman was directed "from De Witt 's Land (on 

• The Great Inlet or Cove, where the passage was to be sought, is the north-west part 
of Torres 9 Strait* It is evident, that a suspicion was entertained, in 1644, of such a 
strait; but that the Dutch were ignorant of its having been passed. The « high islands" 
are those which lie in latitude 10°, on the west side of the strait. Speult's River appears 
to be the opening betwixt the Prince of Wales' Islands and Cape York ; through Which 
captain Cook afterwards passed, and named it Endeavour's Strait : This Speulfs River 
cannot, I conceive, be the same with what was before mentioned under the name of The . 

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North Coast.] INTRODUCTION. xiii 

" the North-west Coast,) to run across, very near eastward, to Tasm&k. 
" complete the discovery of Anthem's and Van Diemen's Lands; and 
" to ascertain perfectly, whether these lands are not one and the same 
" island." 

It is a" great obstacle to tracing correctly the progress of early 
discovery in Terra Australis, that no account of this voyage of 
Tasman has ever been published j nor is any such known to exist. 
But it seems to have been the general opinion, that he sailed round 
the Gulph of Carpentaria; and then westward, along Arnhem's and 
the northerri Van Diemen's Lands ; and the form of these coasts in 
Thevenot's chart of 1663, and in those of most succeeding geo- 
graphers, even up to the end of the eighteenth century, is supposed 
to have resulted from this voyage. The opinion is strengthened by 
finding the names of Tasman, and of the governor-general and two 
of the council, who signed his instructions, applied to places at the 
head of the Gulph ; as is also that of Maria, the daughter of the 
governor, to whom our navigator is said to have been attached. In 
the notes, also, of Burgomaster Witsen, concerning the inhabitants 
of Nova Guinea and Hollandia Nova, as extracted by Mr. Dal- 
rymple ; Tasman is mentioned amongst those, from whom his 
information was drawn. 

The President De Brasses* gives, from the miscellaneous tracts Three Dutch 


of Nicolas Struyck, printed at Amsterdam, 1753, the following ¥meh 
account of another, and last voyage of the Dutch, for the discovery 
of the North Coast. 

" March 1, 1705, three Dutch vessels were sent from Timor, with 
" order to explore the north coast of New Holland, better than it 
" had before been done. They carefully examined the coasts, sand 
" banks, and reefs. In their route to it, they did not meet with any 
" land, but only some rocks above water, in 11 52' south latitude:" 
( probably the south part of the great Sahul Bank; which, according 
to captain Peter Hey wood, who saw it in 1801, lies in 11° 40'.) 
* Hist, des Nav.aux Terres Au$t. Tome I. page 439. 

Digitized by 



*iv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Three Dutch " They saw the west coast of New Holland 4* to the eastward of 
" the east point of Timor. From thence they continued their route 
" towards the north ; and passed a point, off which lies a bank of 
" sand above water, in length more than Jive German miles of fifteen 
" to a degree. After which, they made sail to the east, along the 
" coast of New Holland ; observing every thing with care, until 
" they came to a gulph, the head of which they did not quite reach. 
u r(Struyck) have seen a chart made of these parts." 

What is here called the West , must have been the North-west 
Coast; which the vessels appear to have made somewhat to the 
south of the western Cape Van THemen. The point which they 
passed, was probably this same Cape itself; and in a chart, published 
by Mr. Dalrymple, Aug. 37, 1783, from a Dutch manuscript (pos- 
sibly a copy of that which Struyck had seen), a shoal, of thirty 
geographic miles in length, is marked as running off, from it ; but 
incorrectly, according to Mr. M«. Cluer. The gulph here mentioned, 
was probably a deep bay in Arnhem's Land ; for had it been the 
Gulph of Carpentaria, some particular mention of the great change 
in the direction of the coast, would, doubtless, have been made. 

From this imperfect account of the voyage of these three vessels, 
.very little satisfactory information is obtained ; and this, with some 
few exceptions, is the case with all the accounts of the early Dutch 
discoveries ; and has usually been attributed to die monopolizing 
spirit of their East-India Company, which induced it to keep secret, 
or to destroy, the journals. 

cook. The north coast of Terra Australis does not appear to have be£n 
mo * seen by any succeeding navigator, until the year 1770; when our 
celebrated captain James Cook passed through Endeavour's Strait, 
between Cape York and the Prince of Wales' Islands ; and besides 
clearing up the doubt which, till then, existed, of the actual separa- 
tion of Terra Australis from New Guinea, his more accurate observa- 
tions enabled geographers to assign something like a true place to 
the former discoveries of the Dutch, in these parts. Captain Cook 

Digitized by 


North Coast.] INTRODUCTION. xr 

did not land upon the main ; but, at Possession Island, he saw ten coo*. 
natives : ** Nine of them were armed with such lances as we had 177 °" 
" been accustomed to see, and the tenth had a bow, and a bundle of 
" arrows, which we had never seen in the possession of the natives 
" of this country before."* 

Ax the end of the year 1791, lieutenant John M*. Clue* of the m«.cu;bk. 


Bombay marine, in returning from the examination of the west side 
of New Guinea, made the Land ofArnhem, in longitude i$*&*, east 
of Greenwich. He then sailed westward, along the shore, to i«9 # gg; 
when the coast was found to take a southern direction. The point 
of turning is placed in 11 15* south latitude; and is, doubtless, the 
Cape Van Diemen of the old charts, and the west extremity of the 
north coast of Terra Australis. 

It does not appear that any other account has been given of this 
navigation, than the chart published by Mr. Dahymple, in 179a. 
According to it, though lieutenant M*. Cluer constantly had soundings, 
in from 7 to 4P fathoms ; yet he was generally at such a distance 
from the land, that it was not often seen ; and, consequently, he was 
unable to identify the particular points. No landing seems to have 
been effected upon the main ; but some service was rendered to navi- 
gation, by ascertaining the positions of several small islands, shoals, 
and projecting parts of the coast; and in conferring a certain degree 
of authenticity upon the discoveries of the early Dutch navigators. 

Lieutenant M°. Cluer is the last person, who can strictly be said 
to have added to our knowledge of the north coast of Terra 
Australis, previously to the time in which the voyage of the Investi- 
gator was planned ; but several navigators had followed captain 
Cook through Torres* Strait, and by considerably different routes : 
these it will be proper to notice ; as their discoveries are intimately 
connected with the present subject. 

• HawkenwrtKs Voyages, Vol. I1L page 211* 

Digitized by 


xvi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Blioh. After the mutineers of the Bounty had forced their commander, 
lr89# lieutenant (now rear-admiral) William Bligh, to embark in the 
launch, near the island Tofoa; he steered for Coepang, a Dutch 
settlement, at the south-west end of Timor. In the way, he made 
the east coast of New South Wales, in about 12^° of south latitude ; 
and, sailing northward, passed round Cape York and the Prince of 
Wales' Islands. 

It was not to be supposed, that captain Bligh, under the circum- 
stances of extreme distress, of fatigue, and difficulty of every kind, 
could do much for navigation and geography ; yet, he took views 
and made such observations and notes, as enabled him to construct 
a chart of his track, and of the lands and reefs seen from the launch. 
And as captain Bligh passed to the north of the Prince of Wales' 
Islands, whereas captain Cook had passed to the south, his interest- 
ing narrative, with the accompanying chart, made an useful addition 
to what little was yet known of Torres' Strait.* 

Edwards. Captain (now admiral) Edward Edwards of His Majesty's 


frigate Pandora, on his return from the island Taheity^f made the 
reefs of Torres' Strait, on Aug. 25 ; in about the latitude io° south, 
and two degrees of longitude to the east of Cape York. Steering 
from thence westward, he fell in with three islands, rather high, 
which he named Murray's ; lying in latitude 9 57' south, and 
longitude 143 4s' east ;J and some canoes, with two masts, were 
seen running within side of the reef which lay between the islands 
and the ship. This reef was of considerable extent ; and, during 

* Bligh's " Voyage to the South Seas in H. M, Ship Bounty," page 218—221. 

t Commonly written Otaheite; but the O is either an article or a preposition, and 
forms no part of the name : Bougainville writes it Taiti. 

% In Plates I. and XIII. Murray's Islands are laid down according to their situations 
afterwards ascertained in the Investigator ; and the reefs, seen by the Pandora, are placed 
in their relative positions to those islands. 

Digitized by 


North Coast: Torres' Strait'] INTRODUCTION. xvii 

the whole of August a<>, captain Edwards ran along it to the Edwaot*. 
southward, without finding any passage through. On the 37th, the 1791 ' 
search was continued, without success ; but on the «8th, a boat was 
despatched to examine an opening in the reef; and the ship stood 
off and on, waiting the result. At five in the evening, the boat 
made a signal for a passage being found; but fearing to venture 
through, so near sunset, without more particular information, 
captain Edwards called the boat on board. In the mean time, a 
current, or tide, set the Pandora upon the reef; and, after beating 
there till ten o'clock, she went over it into deep water; and sunk in 
15 fathoms, at daylight of the 29th. 

A dry sand bank was perceived within the opening, at the distance 
of four miles; and thither the boats repaired with the remaining 
officers and people ; thirty-nine men having lost their lives in this 
melancholy disaster. This opening was ascertained to lie in latitude 
ii° 24', and longitude 143 38' ; and is represented as very practicable 
for ships. 

Not being able to save any thing from the wreck, captain Edwards, 
almost destitute of provisions and water, set sail on Aug. 30, with 
his squadron of four boats ; and steered for the north-east part of 
Terra Australis. No reefs, or other dangers, appear to have been 
encountered in the way to the coast ; but in the course northward, 
along it, some islands and reefs were seen. From one part of the 
coast, two canoes with three black men in each, paddled hard after 
the boats ; but though they waved and made many signs, it was 
not thought prudent to wait for them. At one of the York Isles, 
the natives, for some trifling presents, filled a keg of water for 
captain Edwards ; but refused to bring down any more ; and, soon 
afterward, they let fly a shower of arrows amongst the unfortunate 
sufferers. Happily no person was wounded ; and the aggressors 
were put to flight, by a volley of musketry. 

At the Prince of Wales' Islands, good water was found; and 
much alleviated the distress of captain Edwards and his people, 

vol. l D 

Digitized by 


xviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discover**. 

i Edwards. They heard here the howling of wolves, (probably of wild dogs,) 

17n ' and " discovered a morai, or rather heap of bones. There were 
" amongst them two human skulls, the bones of some large animals, 
" and some turtle bones. They were heaped together in the form 
" of a grave ; and a long paddle, supported at each end by a bifur- 
" cated branch of a tree, was laid horizontally along it. Near to 
"this, there were marks of a fire having been recently made ; and 
" the ground about was much footed and worn/'* 

A few small oysters, a harsh austere fruit, resembling a plum, 
and a small berry of a similar taste to the plum, were all that could 
be found for food. 

" There is a large sound formed here, to which," says Mr. Hamil- 
ton, " we gave the name of Sandwich's Sound; and commodious 
" anchorage for shipping in the bay, to which we gave the name of 
" Wolf's Bay, in which there is from five to seven fathoms all 
" round. Near the centre of the sound is a small, dark-coloured, 
" rocky island." 

Sept. s&. In the afternoon, captain Edwards passed out to the 
northward, with his little squadron, from amongst the Prince of 
Wales' Islands; and the same evening, by steering westward, 
cleared all the islands and reefs of Torres' Strait : on the 14th he 
reached Timor. 

The track and discoveries of the Pandora, in Plate XIII. are taken 
from a chart published in 1798, by Mr. Dalrymple, upon the 
authority of one constructed by lieutenant Hay ward; but it does 
not contain the track of the boats after the loss of the Pandora. 
This chart, and the account given by Mr. Hamilton, which, though 
more than sufficiently explicit upon some points, is very defective in 
what concerns navigation and geography ; are all that appears to 
have been published of this voyage. 

* See t€ A Voyage round the World in H. M. frigate Pandora" by George 
Hamilton, Surgeon; page 123, et seq* 

Digitized by 


NorihCoast: Torres' Strait.'] INTRODUCTION. xi* 

Neither the great extent of the reefs, to the eastward of Cape Bugh and 
York, nor the loss of the Pandora, were known in 1792; when °i792 # CK ' 
captain William Bligh came a second time to Torres' Strait, with 
His Majesty's ship Providence, and the brig Assistant commanded by 
lieutenant (now captain) Nathaniel Portlock. The objects of his 
mission were, to transport the bread-fruit plant from Taheity to the 
West Indies; and, in his way, to explore a new passage through 
the Strait; in both of which hie was successful. 

A chart of the discoveries made in Torres' Strait, was lodged, by (AtPLxm.) 
captain Bligh, in the Admiralty Office; and is incorporated with 
other authorities, in Plate XIII. of the accompanying Atlas. No 
account of this voyage having yet been published ; it is conceived, 
that the following brief relation of the passage through the strait, 
will be acceptable to the nautical reader; and, having had the 
honour to serve in the expedition, I am enabled to give it from my 
own journal, with the sanction of captain Bligh. 

Aug. 31. Latitude at noon 9 25' south; longitude from fifteen 
sets of distances of the sun west, and star east, of the moon, takenon 
the 24th, 25th, and 26th, preceding, 145 *«', and by time keepers, 
145 «3 # east. No land seen since passing Louisiade the preceding 
day; but many birds and fish, and much rock weed. At dusk, 
having steered W. £ S. 27 miles, breakers were seen a-head, at the 
distance of two miles ; and the vessels hauled to the wind : no 
bottom at 94 fathoms. / 

- Sept. 1. They bore away W. by S. ; but hauled up gradually to 
South, on account of the breakers ; and not being able to weather 
them, tacked to the N. E. At noon, latitude 9 37' south, longitude 
by time keepers, 144 59' east:* part of the reef, which was named 
after captain Portlock, seen in the N.N.W. from the mast head. 

* In Plate XIII. some small alterations are made in the longitudes given by captain 
Bligh's time keepers, to make them correspond with the corrected longitudes of the 
Investigator and Cumberland. 

Digitized by 


m INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Bligh and At four o'clock, the vessels edged away round the north end of 

PoRTLOCK _ ». 

1792. Portlock's Reefy which, at dusk, bore South, about two leagues ; and 
the wind was then hauled for the night. 

Sept. 2. The breakers bore South, four or five miles; and cap- 
tain Bligh steered westward : the Assistant leading. At noon, the 
latitude being 9 26', longitude, by time keepers, 144 23', other 
breakers were seen a-head, and the vessels hauled the wind to the 
southward; but finding another reef in that direction, with a dry 
bank upon it, they tacked to the N. E. at half past one ; and got 
ground, for the first time, in 64 fathoms, coral bottom. During the 
following night, they stood offand on, constantly getting soundings. 

No breakers were in sight in the morning of Sept. 3. At seven, 
a boat was sent a-head; and the vessels bore away after her to the 
N. W., in order to try the New-Guinea side of the Strait. At noon, 
their course was interrupted by a reef, which was named Bond's 
Reef 9 extending from W. N. W. to North, and distant four or five 
miles: observed latitude g° 6', longitude 144° 13'. The north side 
of the Strait being judged impracticable, the wind was again hauled 
to the southward ; and, at dusk, the vessels anchored in 37 fathoms, 
fine grey sand ; five or six miles north of a reef, upon which was a 
dry bank, called Anchor Key. An island of considerable height, 
bearing S. W. by W. ten leagues, was then seen from the mast head :' 
Captain Bligh gave it the name of Darnley's Island; and to the space 
between Portlock's and Bond's Reefs, by which the vessels had 
entered the Strait, that of Bligh s Entrance. 

Sept. 4. A boat was sent to the S. S. W., and the vessels followed. 
Other high lands (Murray's Isles) were seen to the southward ; and 
a reef with a sand bank on it, to the west. At noon, the latitude 
was 9 32' south, and longitude 143 59' east : Darnley's Island bore 
S. 74 to 82 W., four leagues ; and the largest of Murray's Isles, 
S. 13 to 21 E. : the western reef was about three miles distant, but 
nothing was visible a-head in the S. by W. At four o'clock, the 
vessels anchored in 21 fathoms, sandy bottom; with Darnley's 

Digitized by 


North Coast: Torres' Strati] INTRODUCTION. xxi 

Island bearing N. 6o° W., three leagues. Betwixt a sand-bank, Blioh and 
called Canoe Key, which bore S. 6o° W., two leagues, and a reef *792? K ' 
lying in the W. by S., there appeared to be a passage, which the 
boats were sent to examine. 

On the 5th, boats were again sent to sound the passage. Several 
large sailing canoes were seen ; and the cutter making the signal 
for assistance, the pinnace was sent to her, well manned and armed. 
On the return of the boats in the afternoon, it appeared, that, of four 
canoes which used their efforts to get up to the cutter, one suc- 
ceeded. There were in it fifteen Indians, black, and quite naked ; 
and they made signs which were interpreted to be amicable. These 
signs the officer imitated ; but not thinking it prudent to go so near 
as to take a green cocoa-nut, which was held up to him, he con- 
tinued rowing for the ship. A man, who was sitting upon the shed 
erected in the centre of the canoe, then said something to those 
below ; and immediately they began to string their bows. Two of 
them had already fitted arrows, when the officer judged it necessary 
to fire in his own defence. Six muskets were discharged ; and the 
Indians fell flat into the bottom of the canoe, all except the man on 
the shed: the seventh musket was fired at him, and he fell also. 
During this time, the canoe dropped astern ; arid the three others 
having joined her, they all gave chase to the cutter, trying to cut her 
off from the ship; in which they would probably have succeeded, 
had not the pinnace arrived, at that juncture, to her assistance. The 
Indians then hoisted their sails, and steered for Darnley's Island. 

No boats could have been manoeuvred better, in working to wind- 
ward, than were these long canoes by the naked savages. Had the 
four been able to reach the cutter, it is difficult to say, whether the 
superiority of our arms would have been equal to the great differ- 
ence of numbers ; considering the ferocity of these people, and the 
skill with which they seemed. to manage their weapons. 

September 6. Two boats were sent a-head ; and the vessels fol- 
lowed them, between Canoe Key and the reef lying from it half a mile 

Digitized by 


xxii INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

Bwoh and to the north. After running twelve miles beyond this narrow pass, 


179a. they anchored in 13 fathoms ; the latitude being g* 3/, and longi- 
tude 143° 41'. In the afternoon, they proceeded five miles further, 
to the N. N. W. ; and Darnley's Island then bore S. 74* to 55 E. 
two leagues : except on the north side, this island appeared to be 
surrounded with reefs and sand banks to a considerable distance. In 
sailing from Canoe Key, the vessels had left, on the larbord hand, a 
long chain of reefs aijd banks ; at the north-west end of which, were 
three low, woody islands : % the nearest of these, bearing S. 41* W. 
two or three miles from the anchorage, was named Nepean Island. 
The view to the northward, from W. by N. to E. by S., was free 
from dangers ; but in every other direction there were reefs, islands, 
or dry banks. 

This day, several canoes from Darnley's Island came off to both 
vessels. On approaching, the Indians clapped upon their heads, and 
exclaimed Whoa I Whoul Whool repeatedly, with much vehe- 
mence; at the same time, they held out arrows and other weapons, 
and asked for toore-tooree ! by which they meant iron.* After much 
difficulty, they were persuaded to come along-side ; and two men 
ventured into the ship. They had bushy hair, — were rather stout 
made, — and nearly answered the description given of the natives of 
New Guinea.-f The cartilage, between the nostrils, was cut away in 
both these people ; and the lobes of their ears slit, and stretched ta 
a great length, as had before been observed in a native of the Fejee 
Islands. They had no kind of clothing; but wore necklaces of 
cowrie shells, fastened to a braid of fibres ; and some of their com- 
panions had pearl-oyster shells hung round their necks. In speaking 
to each other, their words seemed to be distinctly pronounced. 

Their arms were bows, arrows, and clubs, which they bartered 
for every kind of iron work with eagerness ; but appeared to set 

• The name for Iron at Taheity, is eure-euree, or ooree> or, according to Bougain- 
ville, aouri. 

t See a Voyage to New Guinea, by Captain Thomas Forrest. 

Digitized by 


NorthCoast: Torres' Strait.] INTRODUCTION. xriii 

little value on any thing else. The bows are made of split bamboo ; Bligh and 
and so strong, that no man in the ship could bend one of them. The °if^ Km 
string is a broad slip of cane, fixed to one end of the bow; and fitted 
with a noose, to go over the other end, when strung. The arrow is 
a cane of about four feet long, into which a pointed piece of the 
hard, heavy, casuarina wood, is firmly and neatly fitted ; and some 
of them were barbed. Their clubs are made of the casuarina, and 
are powerful weapons. The hand part is indented, and has a small 
knob, by which the firmness of the grasp is much assisted ; and the 
heavy end is usually carved with some device : One had the form of 
a parrot's head, with a ruff round the neck ; and was not ill done. 

Their canoes are about fifty feet in length, and appear to have been 
hollowed out of a single tree ; but the pieces which form the gun- 
wales, are planks sewed on with the fibres of the cocoa nut, and 
secured with pegs. These vessels are low, forward, but rise abaft; 
and, being narrow, are fitted with an outrigger on each side, to 
keep them steady. A raft, of greater breadth than the canoe, ex- 
tends over about half the length ; and upon this is fixed a shed 
or hut, thatched with palm leaves. These people, in short, appeared 
to be dextrous sailors and formidable warriours; and to be as much 
at ease in the water, as in their canoes. 

Sept. 7. The boats having found deep water round the north end 
of the three lo,w islands, the vessels followed them ; but anchored 
again, soon after noon, in latitude 9*31", and longitude 143* 31'; 
being sheltered by the two western islands, named Stephens 9 andCamp- 
helVs, and the reefs which surround them. There were then no less 
than eight islands in sight, at different distances ; though none further 
to the westward than W. S. W. All these, except Darnley's Island, 
first seen, were small, low, and sandy ; but generally well covered 
with wood in the central parts. 

On the 8th, the vessels steered westward, with the usual precau- 
tions. No land, or other obstruction, had been seen in that quarter ; 
but, at ten o'clock, they were forced to haul the wind to the south- 

Digitized by 


xxiv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Blioh and ward, their course being impeded by reefs ; upon one of which, was 
U92. Pearce's sandy Key. At noon, they had anchored in 15 fathoms, under 
the lee of Dalrymple's Island, the westernmost before seen ; but two 
other islands were then visible in the S. by W. ; and reefs extended 
from.N. 4 # , to S. 55 W., at the distance of three or four miles. The 
latitude here was 9*3/; and longitude, from six sets of distances 
of the sun and moon, 143° 31'; but, by the time-keepers, 143* 15' 

Several canoes were lying upon the shore of Dalrymple's Island; 
but no natives could be distinguished from the ships. When the 
boats returned, however, from sounding, in the afternoon, they came 
out upon the beach; waving green branches and clapping upon 
their heads, in token of friendship. Boats were afterwards sent to 
them, and were amicably received ; the natives running into the 
water to meet them, and some getting into one of the boats. They 
eagerly asked for toore-tooree ; and gave in exchange some orna- 
ments of shells, and a kind of plum somewhat resembling zjambo. 
When the boats pushed off from the shore, the natives followed into 
the water, and appeared anxious to detain them ; but offered no 
violence. A moderately-sized dog, of a brown , chestnut colour, was 
observed amongst the party. 

Sept. 9. The vessels steered after the boats, between the cluster of 
islands to the southward, and an extensive reef to th6 ivest; with 
soundings from 15 to 10 fathoms. At noon, the latitude was <f 48', 
longitude by timekeepers 143° 6'; and two other islands came in 
sight to the westward. Before two o'clock, an extensive reef, partly 
dry, to which the name of Dungeness was given, made it necessary 
to heave to, until the boats had time to sound ; after which, captain 
Bligh bore away along the north side of the reef, and anchored a 
mile from it, in 17 fathoms, hard bottom. In this *si$i*atidn, Dunge- 
ness Island, which is low and very woody, bore N. 64^ to "38^ W. 
three miles; and a small sandy isle, named WarrioUrs : Js&bd,}$. <P 
to i° W. four miles: this last appeared to stand upon tb*; great 

Digitized by CiOOQIC 

North Coast: Torres' Strait.] INTRODUCTION. xxt 

western reef, and was surrounded with dry sands. Besides these, Bligh and 


there were other low isles, called the Six Sisters, in sight, to the 1792. 
south-east; and a long, flat island, bearing S. 33 to 46 W. over the 
dry Dungeness Reef; in the west, also, there were islands visible, at 
a greater distance, and much higher, than the others. The Strait, 
instead of becoming clearer, seemed to be more and more embar- 
rassed with dangers, as the vessels proceeded westward. The lati- 
tude of this anchorage was 9 50'% south, and the longitude 142 55* 

Sept. 10. The boats sounded the channel to the north-west, between 
Dungeness and Warriours Islands ; and finding sufficient water, the 
vessels got under way, at noon, to follow them. There were many 
natives collected upon the shore of Dungeness Island, and several 
canoes from Warriours Island were about the brig. Presently, captain 
Portlock made the signal for assistance; and there was a discharge of 
musketry and some guns, from his vessel and from the boats. Canoes 
were also coming towards the Providence; and when a musket was 
fired at the headmost, the natives set up a great shout, and paddled 
forward in a body ; nor was musketry sufficient to make them desist. 
The second great gun, loaded with round and grape, was directed 
at the foremost of eight canoes, full of men ; and the round shot, 
after raking the whole length, struck the high stern. The Indians 
leaped out, and swam towards their companions ; plunging con- 
stantly, to avoid the musket balls which showered thickly about 
them. The squadron then made off, as fast as the people could 
paddle without shewing themselves; but afterwards rallied at a 
greater distance, until a shot, which passed over their heads, made 
them disperse, and give up all idea of any further attack. 

In passing the deserted canoe, one native was observed still sitting 
in it. The other canoes afterwards returned to him ; and, with 
glasses, signals were perceived to be made by the Indians, to their 
friends on Dungeness Island, expressive, as was thought, of grief 
and consternation. 

vol. 1. E 

Digitized by 


xxvi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries . 

BuGHand No arrows fell on board the Providence; but three men were 


179*- wounded in the Assistant, and one of them afterwards died : The 
depth to which the arrows penetrated intd the decks and sides of the 
brig, was represented to be truly astonishing. 

The vessels passed between Dungeness and Warriours Islands, 
with from 19 to 13 fathoms ; and anchored, at four o'clock, under 
the lee of Dungeness Island and Reef. The passage to the west- 
ward then appeared clearer; three high islands, bearing from S. 6o m 
W. three leagues, to N. 76? W. five leagues, forming the sole visible 

Sept. 11. Captain Bligh proceeded on his course to the W. N. W., 
and passed two islands, to which the descriptive names of Turtle- 
backed Island and the Cap were given ; and, soon after noon, the 
vessels anchored in 7 fathoms, soft bottom. There was a dry sand 
bearing N. 63 W. two or three miles; between which, and the 
third high island, called The Brothers, bearing S. $5° to 6g° W. three 
miles, it was judged necessary for the boats to sound, before pro- 
ceeding further. This anchorage was in latitude g* 43', and longi- 
tude 14ft 40'; and, besides the islands already mentioned, there was 
in sight a mountainous island, to which the name of Banks was given, 
bearing S. 43 W., twelve or thirteen leagues; also Burke's Island, 
S. 13 W. eight or ten leagues; and Mount Cornwallis, on another 
island, N. $9 W. six or eight leagues ; and from behind this last, to 
N. 7 P W., there extended a level land, which was supposed to be a 
part of the coast of New Guinea. 

Sept. is. The vessels followed the boats to the westward; but 
were interrupted by reefs, and obliged to anchor again before noon. 
The water had shoaled gradually, and there was then only 6 fathoms : 
the bottom a coarse, coral sand. Two other islands were then in 
sight : a low one, named Turn-again Island, bore N. 53° W. about 
four leagues ; and Jervis' Island, which is rather high, S. 48 W. nine 
leagues. A reef, with a dry sand upon it, extended from S. 7 E. to 
6»° W. four or five miles ; another* was distant three miles to the 

Digitized by 


North Coast: Torres' Strait.'] INTRODUCTION. xxvii 

west ; and a third bore N. 18 W. five miles. The latitude of the Bligh ami 
anchorage was 9 41' south, and longitude 142 84' east. °i79«? C " 

A fresh gale from south-east did not allow the Providence and 
Assistant to proceed onward for three days. In the mean time, the 
passage between the reefs to the N. W., was sounded by the boats ; 
and found to contain about 5 fathoms, regularly, upon hard ground. 
They were also sent to examine the passage round the southern 
reefs ; and this being deeper, with a superior bottom, it was chosen 
as the preferable route. 

Sept. 16. The vessels passed to windward of the southern reef; 
arid steered south-westward, as it trended, in from 7 to 5 fathoms 
water, until half past noon ; when they anchored in latitude io° 3', 
and longitude, by time-keeper, 142* 14'. The sole direction in which 
the eye could range without being obstructed, was that whence the 
vessels had come; every where else the view was arrested by rocks, 
banks, and islands. The most extensive of these, was Banks' 
Island, extending from S. 14 E. to 62 W., two or three leagues; 
with a high hill upon it named Mount Augustus, which bore S. 4 E.:* 
Another large island, named Mulgrave's, extended from behind the 
last to a cluster of rocks, whose extreme bore W. jf N. The 
nearest land, bearing S. 24° E., one mile and a half, was the north- 
westernmost of three small isles ; and to this, the second lieutenant 
was sent, for the purpose of taking possession of all the islands 
seen in the Strait, for His Britannic Majesty George III., with the 
ceremonies used on such occasions: the name bestowed upon the 
whole, was Clarence's Archipelago. 

North Possession Island was found to be little else than a mass of 
rocks surrounded by a reef; but it was covered with a variety of 

* This mountain, in latitude 10* 12* south, longitude 142° 13' east, was seen by 
captain 31igh from the Bounty's launch, and marked in his chart, (Voyage, S?c. p. 220.) 
It appears to be the same island indistinctly laid down by captain Cook, in latitude 10° 10', 
longitude 14 1 • 14'; and is, also, one of those, to which the term Hoge Landt is applied 
in Thevenot's chart of 1663. 

Digitized by 


xxviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries 

Bligh and trees and shrubs. Amongst them was a cluster of cocoa-nut trees, 
i7&£*' bearing a small, but delicious, fruit ; and the tree bearing a plum, 
such as had been seen at Dalrymple's Island. Besides these, the 
botanists found the peeha and nono of Taheity ; and two new plants, of 
the size of the common mulberry. One, of the class polyadelphia, bears 
a scarlet, bell-shaped flower, large as the China rose; the other was 
a species of erythrina, bearing clusters of butterfly-shaped flowers, of 
a light yellow, tinged with purple : both were entirely destitute of 
leaves, and their woods remarkably brittle. 

There did not appear to be any fixed inhabitants upon Possession 
Island ; but from a fire which had been recently extinguished, and 
the shells and bones of turtle scattered around, it was supposed to 
have been visited not many days before. The bushes were full of 
small, green ants ; which proved exceedingly troublesome to those 
who had sufficient hardihood to penetrate their retreats. Another, 
and larger species of ant, was black ; and made its nest by bending 
and fixing together the leaves, in a round form, so as to be impene- 
trable to the wet. These, and a small kind of lizard, were all the 
animals found upon the island. 

Sept. 17. The boats led to the westward, steering for a passage 
between Mulgrave's and Jervis* Islands ; but seeing it full of rocks 
and shoals, the vessels anchored a little within the entrance, in 10 
fathoms, coarse ground ; until the boats should sound a-head. The 
latitude here was io° 2', and longitude 142° 03'. The flood tide, 
from the E. N. E., was found to set through between the islands, at 
the rate of four miles an hour ; and the breeze being fresh, and 
bottom bad, the situation was considered to be very unsafe. 

Whilst the boats were sounding, several: Indians in three canoes, 
were perceived making towards them; but on a swivel shot 
being fired over their heads, they returned to Mulgrave's Island, on 
the south side of the passage. On the signal being made for good 
anchorage further on, the Assistant led to the W. by S. ; but on 
reaching the boats, the bottom was found much inferior to what had 

Digitized by 


Iforth Coast. : Torres' Strait.] INTRODUCTION. xxix 

been imagined; the approach of night, however, obliged captain BucHand 
Bligh to anchor, soon afterward, in 8 fathoms. °im. c ^ 

In this situation, the vessels were so closely surrounded with 
rocks and reefs, as scarcely to have swinging room; the bottom 
was rocky ; the wind blowing a fresh gale ; and a tide running 
between four and five knots an hour. This anxious night was, 
however, passed without accident; and next morning, Sept. 18, the 
route was continued through the passage, between reefs and rocks > 
which, in some places, were not three quarters of a mile asunder : 
the smallest depth was 4 fathoms. 

On clearing this dangerous pass, which captain Bligh named, 
Bligh' s Farewell, he anchored in 6 fathoms, sandy bottom; the 
wind blowing strong at S. E. with thick weather. The latitude here 
was io° 5', and longitude 141 56'. From north nearly, round by 
the east, to S. 8° E., there was a mass of islands, rocks, and reefs, at 
various distances; but in the western half of the compass, no danger 
was visible; and as far as three miles to the W.N.W., the boats 
found good soundings in 6 and 7 fathoms. 

Sept. 19. The wind moderated ; and the vessels steered W. by S. 
until noon, with a depth gradually increasing from 6 to 8 fathoms. 
The latitude was then io° 8y south, longitude, by time keeper, 
141 31' east, and no land was in sight; nor did any thing more ' 

obstruct captain Bligh and his .associate, in their route to the island 

Thus was accomplished, in nineteen days, the passage from the 
Pacific, or Great Ocean, to the Indian Sea; without other misfortune 
than what arose from the attack of the natives, and some damage 
done to the cables and anchors. Perhaps no space of gj° in 
length, presents more dangers than Torres' Strait; but, with 
caution and perseverance, the captains Bligh and Portlock proved 
them to be surmountable; and within a reasonable time: how far 
it may be advisable to follow their track through the Strait, will 
appear more fully hereafter. 

Digitized by 


xxx INTRODUCTION. [ftw Discoveries. 

Blioh and In the Voyage to the South Seas in H. M. ship Bounty, page 320, 
°??££. C * # captain Bligh says, " I cannot with certainty reconcile the situation 
" of some parts of the coast (near Cape York) that I have seen, to 
" his (captain Cook's) survey; and from the situation of the high 
islands on the west side of the Strait, which had been seen from the 
Bounty's launch, and were now subjected to the correction of the 
Providence's time-keepers ; he was confirmed in the opinion, that 
some material differences existed in the positions of the lands near 
Cape York. 

Bamftor The last passage known to have been made through Torres' 
179s. Strait, previously to the sailing of the Investigator, was by Messieurs 
William Bampton and Matthew B. Alt, commanders of the ships 
Hormuzeer and Chesterfield. Their discoveries were made public, in 
two charts, by Mr. Dalrymple, in 1798 and 1799 ; and from them, 
and captain Bampton's manuscript journal, the south coast of New 
Guinea, and most of the reefs and islands near it, are laid down in 
Plate XIII. ; after having been adjusted to the observations of 
captain Bligh, and to those subsequently made by me in the Investi- 
gator and Cumberland. The journal was obtained through the 
kindness of Mr. Arrowsmith; and, though no courses and distances 
be given, and the differences from the charts be sometimes con- 
siderable, it is yet so interesting in many points, that I have judged 
the following abridgement would be acceptable, as well to the 
general, as to the nautical, reader. 

The Hormuzeer and Chesterfield sailed together from Norfolk 
Island ; with the intention of passing through Torres' Strait, by a 
route which the commanders did not know to have been before 
attempted. June so, 1793, in the evening, being in latitude io° 24' 
south, and longitude 144 14/ east (by captain Bampton's chart), a 
dry reef was seen extending from W. \ S. to N. W. by W., distant 
four or five miles, and breakers from the mast head at N. by E. £ E. : 
An island (Murray's), which appeared to be large and woody, was 

Digitized by 


North Coast: Torres' Strait.] INTRODUCTION. xxxi 

also seen, and bore N. W. - W. The ships got ground in 60 fathoms, Bampto* 
and hauled the wind to the eastward, till midnight ; when, having w f 7 ^ T# 
no bottom at 70 fathoms, they lay to, till morning. 

June si. The Hormuzeer's long boat was sent a-head; and, at 
ten o'clock, the ships bore away northward. At noon, the latitude 
was 9 30'. The course was altered, at three, to the horth-west; 
and at dusk, they hove to, for the hight : soundings from 70 to $6 
fathoms. The same course being resumed on the sand, the latitude, 
at noon, was 8° 48'; and the depth 30 fathoms, on a bottom of sand* 
mud, and shells. From noon to five p. m. 9 when they anchored, 
the ships appear to have steered W. by S. The land had been seen 
at one o'clock ; and at two, the water had shoaled suddenly, from 
30 to 10 fathoms, and afterwards diminished to 5, which continued 
to the place of anchorage. The land was part of the coast of New 
Guinea ; and the extremes were set at W. by N. £ N. and N. W. \ N., 
six or seven leagues, (in the chart, miles.) The flood tide here, 
set two miles per hour, towards the land; and the rise, by the lead 
line, was nine feet. 

June 23. The ships got under way with the weather, or ebb, 
tide, a little before noon : latitude 8° 52'. At four .o'clock, the wind 
blew strong at south-east, with thick weather; and they anchored in 
9 fathoms, blue* mud; having made a course of E. N. E. nearly 
parallel to the coast. They remained here till the next afternoon ; 
when the Hormuzeer having parted her cable, both ships stood 
to the north-eastward, along the land, until midnight; at which 
time they wore to the south-West, in 30 fathoms. At daylight of 
the 35th, the depth had decreased to 16 fathoms; and they stretched 
north-eastward again, with little variation in the soundings. The 
latitude, at noon, was 8° 10'; and the ships continued their course 
upon a wind, keeping as much to the east as possible ; and the 
soundings having increased to 30 fathoms, at dusk, they hove to ; 
but stretched off, at midnight, on coming into 10 fathoms. In the 
morning of June 36, they were standing to the eastward ; but the 

Digitized by 


xxxii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Bamptoh wind becoming light at nine o'clock, Mr. Bampton anchored in 9 

Wl i793 L * T fathoms, on a muddy bottom, in latitude 7 55' south. The coast of 

New Guinea was then seen to extend from N. N. W. £ W. to E. N. E. ; 

and the south end of a reef, running off from the western extreme, 

bore W. by S. i S., two leagues. 

The land here forms a large, unsheltered bay ; and an opening 
nearly at the head, bearing N.jK, appeared like the entrance of a 
considerable river ; but an officer, who was sent in a boat to sound, 
saw breakers stretching across. The soundings were regular, from 
g to 6 fathoms, within a mile or two of the shore ; when there was 
only twelve feet ; and the surf which rolled in, made it impossible 
to land. The country round the bay is described as level and open, 
and of an agreeable aspect. 

On the return of the boat the ships weighed, and stretched south- 
ward until June 27, at noon. The latitude was then g° 1'; and a 
sand bank was seen from the mast head, bearing S. W. £ W. They 
then wore to the north-eastward ; and continued upon that course 
until the 28th, at dusk; when the land of New Guinea being in sight 
as far as E. by N., the same, apparently, which had been set from 
the anchorage on thd «6th, they stretched off till two in the morn- 
ing ; and then in again, towards the land. 

Captain Bampton had followed the coast of New Guinea thus far, 
in the hope of finding a passage to the northward, between it and 
Louisiade ; but the trending of the land so far to the east, and the 
difficulty of weathering it, from the current being adverse, obliged 
him to give up that hope. A consultation was then held ; and a 
determination made to attempt the passage through the middle of 
Torres' Strait. 

At the time the ships hauled their wind to the southward, the 
latitude was 8° 3'; the longitude, from three distances of the sun 
and moon, 145 23'; and the depth of water 40 fathoms, on a muddy 
bottom. They had no soundings from that time to July 1 , at one 
a. m. ; when there was 35 fathoms. At daylight, land, which was 

Digitized by 


North Coast: Torres' Strait.] INTRODUCTION. xxxiii 

the Darnley's Island of captain Bligh, bore S. W. by S. seven or eight Ba "^°* 
leagues ; a dry sand was seen in the W. N. W. , ( probably W. S. W. ) ; 17W. 
and a reef, which appears to have been that of Anchor Key, was six 
or seven miles distant in the S. E. At four in the afternoon, when 
Darnley's Island bore W. by N. £ N. five leagues, and Murray's 
Island S. E.iE. ( probably S. S. E. \ E. ) the ships anchored in 22 
fathoms, marly bottom ; and the boats were sent towards the first 
island to sound, and see if it were inhabited. The latitude observed 
at this anchorage, was 9 40' south, and longitude from three dis- 
tances of the sun and moon 14s 58' 30" east. 

July ». The boats returned. Between the ships and the island, 
they had passed over five different reefs, separated by narrow 
channels of 11 to 14 fathoms deep. The natives of the island 
came down in considerable numbers; and exchanged some bows 
and arrows, for knives and other articles. They were stout men ; 
and somewhat above the common size of Europeans. Except in 
colour, which was not of so deep a cast, they bore much resemblance 
to the natives of Port Jackson ; and had scars raised upon their 
bodies in the same manner. The men were entirely naked; but 
the women, who kept at a distance and appeared small in size, wore 
an apron of leaves, reaching down to the knee. Many cocoa-nut 
trees were seen in the lower parts of the island. 

When the boats returned, they were followed by four canoes. 
One of them went along-side of the Chesterfield ; and an Indian 
ventured on board, on a sailor going into the canoe, as a hostage for 
him. Most of these people had their ears perforated. The hair 
was generally cut short; but some few had it flowing loose. It is 
naturally black; but from being rubbed with something, it had a 
reddish, or burnt appearance. These Indians, so far as they could 
be understood, represented their island to abound in refreshments ; 
and it was, therefore, determined to send another boat to make fur- 
ther examination. 

July 3. Mr. Shaw, chief mate of the Chesterfield, Mr. Carter ; 
vol. 1. F 

Digitized by 


xxxi* INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discovert**. 

Bampton and captain Hill of the New-South- Wales corps, who was a pas- 

^ms L . T sen g er > went away armed, with five seamen in a whale boat ; and 

were expected to return on the following day ; but the 4th, 5th, and 

6th, passed, without any tidings of them; although many signal 

guns had been fired. 

On the 7th, two boats, manned and armed, under the command 
of Mr. Dell, chief mate of the Hormuzeer, were sent in search of 
the whale boat. On reaching the island, Mr: Dell heard conch 
shells sounding in different parts ; and saw eighty or ninety armed 
natives upon the shore. To the inquiries, by signs, after the miss- 
ing boat, they answered that she was gone to the westward ; but 
none of them would venture near; nor did they pay attention to a 
white handkerchief which was held up, and had before been con- 
sidered a signal'of peace. 

As the boats proceeded in their search, round the island, the 
natives followed along the shore, with increasing numbers. One 
man, who was rubbed with something blue, and appeared to be a 
chief, had a small axe in his hand; which was known, from the red 
helve, to have belonged to Mr. Shaw. On reaching the bay in the 
north-west side of the island, Mr. Dell remarked that the natives 
disappeared; all except about thirty, who were very anxious in 
persuading him to land. They brought down women ; and made 
signs, that the boat and people whom he sought, were a little way 
up in the island. He, however, rowed onward ; when the beach 
was immediately crowded with people, who had been lying in 
ambush, expecting him to land. 

After having gone entirely round the island, and seen nothing 
of the object of his research, Mr. Dell returned to the first cove ; 
Where a great concourse of natives, armed with bows, arrows, clubs, . 
and lances, were assembled at the outskirt of the wood. By offer- 
ing knives and other things, a few were induced to approach the 
boat; and the coxswain seized one of them by the hair and neck, 
with the intention of his being taken off to the ships, to give an 

Digitized by 


NorikCoart: Torres' Strait.} INTRODUCTION, xxxv 

account of the missing boat and people. A shower of arrows in- b vmptoit 
stantly came out of the wood ; and a firing was commenced, which "733"* 
killed one Indian, and wounded some others. In the mean time, 
the coxswain found it impossible to keep the man, from his hair and 
body being greased ; and the boat's crew was too much occupied 
to assist him. 

July 8. The two commanders having heard the report of Mr. 
Dell, proceeded with the ships, round the northern reefs and sand 
banks, to the bay on the north-west side of Darnley's Island, which 
was named Treacherous Bay. On the 9th, in the afternoon, they 
anchored with springs on the cables, in 13 fathoms, sand, mud, and 
shells; the extremes of the island bearing E. £ N. to S. W. by S., 
and the nearest part distant a quarter of a mile. A boat was sent on 
shore; and returned, at sunset, with a few cocoa nuts; but without 
having seen any of the inhabitants. 

July 10. An armed party of forty-four men landed from the 
ships, under the command of Mr. Dell. - After hoisting the union 
jack, and taking possession of this, and the neighbouring islands 
and coast of New Guinea, in the name of His Majesty, they examined 
the huts, and found the great coats of captain Hill, Mr. Carter, and 
Mr. Shaw ; with several other things which had belonged to them, 
and to the boats' crew ; so that no doubt was entertained of their 
having been murdered. In the evening, the party arrived from 
making the tour of the island; having burnt and destroyed one- 
hundred-and-thirty-five huts ; sixteen canoes, measuring from fifty 
to seventy feet in length ; and various plantations of sugar cane. 
The natives appeared to have retired to the hills in the centre of the 
island ; as not one of them could be discovered. 

Darnley's Island was judged to be about fifteen miles in circum- 
ference. It is variegated with hills and plains ; and the richness of 
the vegetation bespoke it to be very fertile ; it appeared, however, 
to be scantily supplied with fresh water, there being only one small 
place where it was found near the shore. The plantations of the 

Digitized by 




[Prior Di*coverie$. 

Bampton natives, which were extensive and numerous in the plains, contained 
\7*a? y am s, sweet potatoes, plantains, and sugar canes, inclosed within 
neat fences of bamboo ; and cocoa-nut trees were very abundant, 
particularly near the habitations. The hills, which mostly occupy 
the middle of the island, were covered with trees and bushes of a 
luxuriant growth ; and upon different parts of the shores, the man- 
grove was produced in great plenty. 

The habitations of the Indians were generally placed at the heads 
of the small coves ; and formed into villages of ten or twelve huts 
each, inclosed within a bamboo fence of, at least, twelve feet high. 
The hut much resembles a haycock, with a pole driven through it; 
and may contain a family of six or eight people. The covering is 
of long grass, and cocoa leaves. The entrance is small ; and so 
low, that the inhabitants must creep in and out ; but the inside was 
clean and neat; and the pole that supports the roof, was painted red, 
apparently with ochre. 

In each of the huts, and usually on the right hand side going in, 
were suspended two or three human skulls ; and several strings of 
hands, five or six on a string. These were hung round a wooden 
image, rudely carved into the representation of a man, or of some 
bird ; and painted and decorated in a curious manner : the feathers 
of the Emu or Cassuary generally formed one of the ornaments* 
In one hut, containing much the greater number of skulls, a kind of 
^ gum was found burning before one of these images. This hut was 
adjoining to another, of a different form, and much more capacious 
than any of the others. The length was thirty feet, by fifteen in 
breadth ; and the floor was raised six feet from the ground. The 
hut was very neatly built of bamboo, supported by long stakes, 
and thatched with cocoa leaves and dried grass. It was judged to 
be the residence of the chief of the island ; and was the sole hut in 
which there were no skulls or hands ; but the adjoining one had 
more than a double proportion. 

The corpse of a man, who had been shot, was found disposed of 

Digitized by 


North Coast: Torres' Strait.] INTRODUCTION. xxxvii 

in the following manner. Six stakes were .driven into the ground ; Bam *to» 
about three feet from each other, and six feet high. A platform ^uw?* 
of twigs was worked upon them, at the height of five feet; and 
upon this, the body was laid, without covering ; but the putrid state 
of the corpse, did not allow of a close inspection. 

Upon the reefs which surround the island, square places, of about 
fifty feet every way, were formed, by piling up stones of two or 
three feet high. The tide flows over these ; and, on the ebb, the 
Indians go down and take out the fish. On all parts of the reefs, 
there were bamboos set up, with pendants of dried leaves; but 
whether they were intended as beacons for the canoes, or to point 
out the boundaries of each fishery, could not be ascertained. 

The description of the canoes is nearly the same as that given in 
the voyage of Bligh and Portlock ; but Mr. Bampton says, " some 
u of them were ingeniously carved and painted, and had curious 
" figures at each end." The weapons of these people are bows; 
arrows, clubs of about four feet long, and spears and lances of 
various kinds, made of black, hard, wood. Some of the lances were 
jagged, from the sharp point to a foot upward ; and most of them 
were neatly carved. 

The sole quadrupeds seen, were rats, mice, and lizards ; which, 
when the huts were set on fire, ran from them in great numbers. 
Land birds were numerous in all parts of the island ; and upon th6 
reefs were many curlews, large yellow-spotted plover, king's fishers, 
sand pipers, red bills, and gulls. 

Captain Bampton lays down Darnley's Island, which the natives 
call Wamvax, in latitude 9* 3$/ 30" south, and longitude 142 59' 15" 
east; but in his chart, the centre is placed in 9°34 # south, and 143 1' 
east. He much regretted that he could not land again, to examine 
the interior parts of this fine island ; but his long boat having drifted 
out of sight, without water, provisions, or compass, it was judged 
necessary for the ships to weigh, and look after her. 

July 11. The Hormuzeer stood to the northward, with sound* 

Digitized by 


xxxviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Bamptow ings of 15 to 19 fathoms. After three hours run, with a fresh 
i793. T breeze, a reef and sand bank were seen a-head, and the ship was 
veered to the south-west. Another reef and bank were descried, 
soon afterward, in the west ; and, at the same time, a signal for see- 
ing the long boat was made by the Chesterfield. In the afternoon, 
the boat was picked up, and both ships anchored under Stephens' 

An armed party was immediately sent on shore, to obtain intelli- 
gence, if possible, of the lost whale boat. The natives were 
assembled in hostile array, upon the hills, sounding their conchs ; 
but, after lancing a few arrows, they fled. Several were wounded 
by the shots fired in return ; but they succeeded in escaping to a 
canoe at the back of the island, and getting off; all except one boy, 
who was taken . unhurt.* In the huts, which were burnt, several 
things were found ; and amongst them, a sheet of copper which 
belonged to the Chesterfield. 

July is. Stephens' Island was traversed all over; and a spike 
nail, with the king's broad arrow upon it, was brought on board, and 
excited many conjectures as to whence it came.-f The plantations, 
huts, images, skulls, and hands, were found similar to those of 
Darnley's Island. Amongst the trees, there was one resembling an 
almond, the nuts of which were good. The cocoa nut grows abun- 
dantly; especially in the south-eastern part, where the trees formed 
a continued grove. The sole quadruped seen; except rats, was a 
pretty animal of the opossum tribe. It was found in a cage; and 
had probably been brought, either from New Guinea, or New South 

* It does not appear in the journal, when, or where this boy was set on shore ; nor is 
any further mention made of him. 

f It had probably been obtained from the crews of either the Providence or Assistant; 
which had anchored under Stephens' Island, nine months before. 

% Mr. Bampton's description of this animal is briefly as follows. Size and shape, of 
the opossum. Colour, yellowish white with brown spots. End of the tail, deep red : 

Digitized by 


North Coast: Torres' Strait.) INTRODUCTION, 


July 13. A boat was sent to Campbell's Island ; but it did not Bampto* 
contain either plantations, cocoa-nut tree?, or fixed inhabitants. 1793^ 
This, as also Stephens' and Nepean's Islands, are mostly low and 
sandy ; and surrounded with extensive reefs, upon which, it was 
thought, the Indians pass from one island to the other, at low water. 

In the afternoon, the ships proceeded to the westward; but meet- 
ing with many reefs, they hauled more to the north, and discovered 
Bristow Island, lying close to the coast of New Guinea. Their 
attempts to find a passage here, were fruitless ; and after incurring 
much danger, and the Chesterfield getting aground, they returned 
to their former anchorage, in the evening of July 21. The banks, 
reefs, and lands, seen during these eight days, will be found marked 
in Plate XIIL 

Two canoes immediately came off from Stephens' Island ; and 
one of the natives remained on board the Hormuzeer till eight 
o'clock. He seemed to be without fear ; and when inquiry was 
made after the lost boat and people, he pointed to a whale boat, and 
made signs that such an one had been at Darnley's Island; and that 
six of the people were killed.* Many presents were made to this 
man ; and he was clothed, and sent on shore in one of the boats. 

prehensile. Eyes, reddish brown s red when irritated. No visible ears. Used its paws 
in feeding: five nails to each. Habit, dull and slothful: not savage* Food, maize, 
boiled rice, meat, leaves, or any thing offered. Odour, very strong at times, and dis- 

* Captain Hill and four of the seamen were murdered by the natives. Messieurs 
Shaw and Carter were severely wounded ; but with Ascott, the remaining seaman, they 
got into the boat, cut the grapnel rope, and escaped. They were without provisions or 
compass ; and it being impossible to reach the ships, which lay five leagues to windward, 
they bore away to the west, through the Strait; in the hope of reaching Timor. On the 
tenth day, they made land ; which proved to be Timor- laoet. They there obtained some 
relief to their great distress ; and went on to an island called by the natives, Sarrett; 
where Mr. Carter died : Messieurs Shaw and Ascott sailed in a prow, for Bauda, in the 
April following. See Collins' Account of the English Colony in New South Wales. 
Vol. I. page 464, 465. 

Digitized by 


*1 INTRODUCTION; [JVtor Discoveries. 

Bamptoh July 82. The ships* crews beginning to feel the want of fresh 
- i7u*. water, people were sent on shore to dig a well ; and the natives, 
though they still appeared shy and suspicious, gave them some 
assistance. On the 84th, the boats had discovered a passage to the 
south-westward ; and as the well produced little water, and no pro- 
vision could be obtained, it was determined to proceed onward, 
through the Strait, without further delay. 

They weighed the same afternoon ; and anchored, at dusk, in 14 
fathoms ; Campbell's Island bearing N. E. by E. to E. by N. \ N. ; 
and many other small isles being in sight to the south-west and 
southward. Next day, the 25th, they steered S. by W. £ W., from 
seven in the morning to six in the evening ; when they anchored in 
17 fathoms, having islands in sight nearly all round : the nearest 
at the distance of five or six miles. These islands were small ; 
but inhabitants were seen on the greater number ; and two canoes 
went off to the Chesterfield. 

July «6. The ships proceeded westward, very slowly ; the wind 
being at south-west. In the morning of the 27th, they were at anchor 
in 11 fathoms ; Dungeness Island bearing W. by N. to N. W. by 
W. -§• W., about six miles ; and Warriors Island N. N. W. £ W. eight 
miles. Mr. Dell had passed the preceding night upon one of the 
Six Sisters, which was called Dove Island, bearing from the ship, 
S. S. E. six miles. A fire on the beach, with two fish broiling upon 
it, bespoke the presence of inhabitants; but on searching the island 
over, none could be discovered : it was thought that they had fled 
to a larger island, it being connected with this by a reef, which dries 
at low water. Mr. Dell had a seine with him, and caught a dozen 
fine fish ; but the object of remaining all night, that of taking turtle, 
did not succeed ; although large shells of them were found upon 
the shore. 

Dove Island is about one mile and a half in circumference ; and 
covered with trees and shrubs, the fragrance of whose flowers per- 
fumed the air. Amongst other birds, two beautiful doves were shot 

Digitized by 


North Coast: Torres' Strait.] INTRODUCTION. x \i 

The plumage of the body was green ; the head, bill, and legs, red ; Bampto* 
the tail, and under sides of the wings, yellow. No huts, plantations, "Y^** 
or other signs of fixed inhabitants were seen ; nor was there any 
fresh water. 

On the return of the boat, the vessels weighed ; and the wind 
being at W. S. W., they worked through, between Dungeness and 
Warriors Islands, with the flood tide. They then anchored in li 
fathoms ; the first Island bearing S. S. E. to S £ W. three leagues, and 
the second E. by S. \ S. 

July «8. Having a fresh breeze at E. S. E., the long boat was 
sent a-head, and the ships followed, to the westward. They passed 
Turtle-backed Island, the Cap, and the Brothers, on one side, and 
Nichols* Key on the other : the soundings gradually shoaling from 
i% to 7 fathoms. Upon the Cap, Mr. Bampton " saw a volcano 
" burning with great violence/* which induced him to give it the 
name of Fire Island; not knowing that it had before been named. 
At noon, the Brothers, with the Cap and Turtle-backed Island 
behind, bore S. E. by S. to S £ E; four miles ; and Mount Corn- 
wallis N. i6° W. 

The water continued to shoal ; and at three p. m., the ships- 
anchored in 5 fathoms, sand, shells, and stones ; the Brothers bear- 
ing E. by S. £ S. five leagues, and Mount Cornwallis N. by E. £ E. 
There were two large islands in sight in the S. S. W. £ W. to S. W. 
£ &, at the distance of eight or ten leagues ; and many nearer reefs 
in the same direction. 

July 29. The long boat was sent to sound in the north-west; 
and when the ebb tide slacked, the ships followed : wind at E. S. E. ; 
The soundings increased from 5 to 7 fathoms ; and afterwards varied 
between these depths, until noon ; when the latitude observed was 
9 4a' south * The Brothers then bore S. 64 E. ; Mount Cornwallis 
N. 38 E; and a long, low island (Turn-again, of Bligh,) N. 35 to • 

* This latitude is from 4' to & more south than captain Bligh's positions ; and the sam* 
difference occurs in all the observations, where a comparison can be made, 
VOL. I. G 

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xlii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries 

Bampton 58 W. At three p. m. the reefs were so numerous, that the ships 
war? were obliged to anchor, until the boat? could sound for a passage : 
the depth here was ^ fathoms, on a bottom of rotten stones and 

July 31. They weighed, and hauled the wind eastward, to pass 
round Turn-again Island ; bearing away occasionally to avoid small 
reefs: the soundings $± to 4 fathoms. After passing round, they 
anchored in 5 fathoms; until the boats should sound between the 
reefs which appeared on every side : Turn-again Island then bore 
§. 56 to 83 W. about two leagues, Mount Cornwallis N. 56° E., the 
Brothers S. 50 E. ; the latitude observed was 9 3s', and longitude 
from four sights of the sun and moon, 140 58' east. Next after- 
noon, in proceeding to the north-westward, the Chesterfield struck 
upon a bank in eight feet; water; but the coral giving way to the 
ship, she went over without injury. In. the evening, they both an- 
chored in 4j fathoms, gravel and shells ; Mount Cornwallis bearing 
E. £ S., and a long tract of land from N. W. by N. to N. E., at the 
distance of five or six leagues. Turn-again Island bore S. S. E; \ E. 
to S. i W., four miles ; and thither the ships ran on Aug. 3., and 
anchored in 3^ fathoms, fine sand, within a quarter of a mile of the 
shore ; the extremes bearing S. 58* E. to 6o° W. The purpose for 
which they came to this island, was to procure wood, water, and 
refreshments ; during the time necessary for the boats to explore a 
passage through the innumerable reefs and banks, which occupy 
this part of the Strait. 

Messieurs Bampton and Alt remained here seventeen days ; being 
afraid to move with the strong south-east winds which blew during 
the greater part of the time. Turn-again Island is flat, low, and 
swampy; and about three miles in length, by half that space in 
breadth. (Mr. Bampton's chart makes it the double of these dimen- 
sions ; and, generally, the islands in it exceed the description of the 
journal in about the same proportion : the journal seems to be the 
preferable authority. ) The reefs which surround Turn-again Island, 

Digitized by 


Pbrth Coast: Tbrres 9 Strait.*] INTRODUCTION. xliif 

extend a great distance to the east and west ; particularly in the Bauptow 
latter direction, where there are many dry sand banks. The island 1793^ 
is mostly over-run with mangroves ; and at the top of the flood, the 
wood cutters were obliged to work in the water ; and were, at all 
times, exceedingly annoyed with musketoes. The island is said, in 
the journal, to be in g° 34/ south and 140 55? east ; which is 3' to the 
south and i° 24' west of its situation in the chart of captain Bligh. 

No other refreshment than small quantities of fish, crabs, and 
shell-fish, being procurable here, the ships crews were further re- 
duced in their short allowance. With respect to fresh water, their 
situation was still worse : None could be obtained upon Turn-again 
Island ; and had not captain Bampton ingeniously contrived a still > 
their state would have been truly deplorable. He caused a cover, 
with a hole in the centre, to be fitted by the carpenter upon a large 
cooking pot ; and over the hole he luted an inverted tea kettle, with 
the spout cut off. To the stump of the spout, was fitted a part of 
(he tube of a speaking trumpet ; and this was lengthenedjby a gun 
barrel, which passed through a cask of salt water, serving as a cooler. 
From this machine, good fresh water, to the amount of twenty-five 
tb forty gallons per day, was procured ; and obtained a preference 
to that contained in the few casks remaining in the Hormuzeer. 

By Aug. 20., when the weather had become more moderate, the 
boats had sounded amongst the reefs in all directions ; but there 
appeared to be no practicable passage out of this labyrinth, except 
to the north-west. In that direction the ships proceeded three hours, 
in from 6 to 3 fathoms. Next afternoon, they steered westward, 
with the flo6d tide; and again anchored in 3 fathoms, sand and 
gravel. The coast of New Guinea then extended from N. by E. £ E. 
to N. W. £ N. ; and the north-west end of a long island, to which 
the name of Talbot was given^ bore N. by E. £ E. nine or ten miles. 

Aug. 22. At day-light they followed the long boat to the west- 
Ward, m soundings from s£ to 4 fathoms. At seven o'clock, the 
Hormuzeer grounded in 2 fathoms ; upon a bank whence Talbot's 

Digitized by 


x\i* INTRODUCTION, [Prior Discoveries. 

Bamptoh Island bore N. N. E, to E. N. E., eight or ten miles, and where the 
"ms.* observed latitude was 9 27' south. She remained upon this bank 
until the morning of the 24th ; when Mr. Bampton got into a chan- 
nel of 13 fathoms, which had been found by the boats, and the ship 
did not appear to have received other damage, than the loss of 
the false keel. The still continued to be kept at work, day and 

Aug. 27. Messieurs Bampton and Alt proceeded onward in a 
track which had been sounded by the boats. At sunset, they came 
to, in 4 fathoms ; the extremes of New Guinea then bearing N. W. 
by W. to N. E. by E., three or four leagues. Some further prdgress 
was made next morning ; and at noon, when at anchor in 3^ fathoms, 
and in latitude 9 26^', an island was discovered bearing S. W. £ S. 
five or six leagues ; which received, eventually, the name of Deli-, 
verance Island. 

Aug. 29. The Hormuzeer grounded at low water ; from which 
it appeared that the tide had fallen twelve feet, though then at the 
neaps. When the ship floated, they made sail to the westward ; and' 
deepened the water to 9 and 12 fathoms. At noon, it had again 
shoaled to 6 ; Deliverance Island bearing S. S. W. £ W. nine or teiv 
miles, and New Guinea N. W. to N. by E. * E. four or five leagues :> 
latitude observed 9 25' south. After preceding a little further 
westward, they anchored in 5 fathoms. • 

Aug. 30. The soundings varied as before, between 4 and 10 
fathoms : the bottom, rotten coral intermixed with sand. At noon, 
when the latitude was 9 21', Deliverance Island was just in sight 
from the deck, in the S. E. by S. ; and the extremes of New Guinea 
bore N. E. by E. to N. W. £ W., ten or twelve miles.* In the after-, 
noon, the depth again decreased to 4 fathoms, and obliged them to. 
anchor until morning. On the 31st, the ships appear to have steered 

- * Mr. Bampton's chart and journal are more at variance here than in the preceding 
parts of the Strait, and I have found it very difficult to adjust them; but have attempted* 
it in Plate XUI. - 

Digitized by 


North Coatt.] INTRODUCTION. xIt 

south-westward, leaving on the starbord hand a very extensive b^mptom 
bank, on which the long boat had 2 fathoms water : the soundings 1793. 
from the Hormuzeer were from 3 to 7 fathoms. At noon, the lati- 
tude was 9 27', and no land in sight. The soundings then increased 
gradually ; and at sunset, no bottom could be found at 40 fathoms. 
A swell coming from S. S. W. announced an open sea in that direc- 
tion ; and that the dangers of Torres' Strait were, at length, 

This passage of the Hormuzeer and Chesterfield in seventy-two 
days, with that made in nineteen , by the captains Bligh and Port- 
lock, displayed the extraordinary dangers of the Strait ; and appear 
to have deterred all other commanders from following them, up to 
the time of the Investigator. Their accounts confirm the truth of 
Torres having passed through it, by shewing the correctness of the 
sketch contained in his letter to the King of Spain. 

The sole remaining information, relative to the North Coast of Conclusive 
Terra Australis, was contained in a note, transcribed by Mr. Dal- 
rymple, from a "work of burgomaster Witsen upon the Migration 
of Mankind. The place of which the burgomaster speaks, is evi- 
dently on the coast of Carpentaria, near the head of the Gulph ; 
but it is called New Guinea; and he wrote in X705. The note 
is as follows; but upon whose authority it was given, does not 

" In 16 io' south, longitude 159 17'" (east of Teneriffe, or be- 
tween 142 and 143 east of Greenwich,) " the people swam on 
" board of 3 Dutch ship ; and when they received a present of a 
" piece of linen, they laid it upon their head in token of gratitude : 
" Every where thereabout, all the people are malicious. They use 
" arrows, and bows of such a length, that one end rests on the ground 
" when shooting. They have also hazeygaeys- and kalawaeys, and m 

" attacked the Dutch ; but did not know the execution of the guns/' 

On summing up the whole of the knowledge which had been 

Digitized by 


xlvi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discover**. * 

Conclusive acquired of the North Coast, it will appear, that natural history, 
emar 8 geography, and navigation had still much to learn of this part of the 
world ; and more particularly, that they required the accomplish- 
ment of the following objects : 

ist. A general survey of Torres' Strait. The navigation from 
the Pacific, or Great Ocean to all parts of India, and to the Cape of 
Good Hope, would be greatly facilitated, if a passage through the 
Strait, moderately free from danger, could be discovered ; since jfoe 
or six weeks of the usual route, by the north of New Guinea or the 
tnore eastern islands, would thereby be saved. Notwithstanding 
the great obstacles which navigators had encountered in some parts 
of the Strait, there was still room to hope, that an examination of 
the whole, made with care and perseverance, would bring such a 
passage to light. A survey of it was, therefore, an object much to 
be desired ; not only for the merchants and seamen trading to these 
parts, but also from the benefits which would certainly accrue there- 
from to general navigation and geography. 

and. An examination of the shores of the Gulph of Carpentaria. 
The real form of this gulph remained in as great doubt with geo- 
graphers, as were the manner how, and time when it acquired its 
name.* The east side of the Gulph had been explored to the latitude 
of 17 , and many rivers were there marked and named ; but how 
far the representation given of it by the Dutch was faithful, — what 
were the productions, and what its inhabitants, — were, in a great 

* I am aware that the president de Brasses says, " This same year also (1628) Cab- 
pbntabia was thus named by P. Carpenter, who discovered it when general in the ser- 
vice of the Dutch Company. He returned from India to Europe, in the month of June 
1628, with five ships richly laden." (Hist, des Nov. aux Terres AusL Tome 1. 433). But 
the president here seems to give either his own, or the AW>6 Provost's conjectures, for 
matters of fact. We have seen, that the coast called Carpentaria was discovered long 
before 1628 ; and it is, besides, little probable, that Carpenter should have been making 
discoveries with five shipb, richly laden and homeward bound. This name of Carpentaria 
does not once appear in Tasman't Instructions, dated in 1644 ; but is found in Thevenot's 
chart of 1663. 

Digitized by 


North Coast.] INTRODUCTION. xlrii 

measure, uncertain. Or rather it was certain, that those early navi- Conciusi™ 

i * Remarks* 

gators did not possess the means of fixing the positions and forms 
of lands, with any thing like the accuracy of modern science ; and 
that they could have known very little of the productions, or inha- 
bitants. Of the rest of the Gulph no one could say, with any confi-' 
dence, upon what authority its form had been given in the charts; 
so that conjecture, being at liberty to appropriate the Gulph of Car- 
pentaria to itself, had made it the entrance to a vast arm of the sea, 
dividing Terra Australis into two, or more, islands. 

3rd. A more exact investigation of the bays, shoals, islands, and coasts 
of Arnhem's, and the northern Van Diemen's, Lands. The infor- 
mation upon these was attended with uncertainty ; first, because the 
state of navigation was very low at the time of their discovery ; and 
second, from want of the details and authorities upon which they 
had been laid down. The old charts contained large islands lying 
off the coast, under the names of T" Hoog Landt or Wessel's Eylandt, 
and Crocodils Eylanden ; but of which little more was known than 
that, if they existed, they must lie to the eastward of 135 from 
Greenwich. Of the R. Spult, and other large streams represented 
to intersect the coast, the existence even was doubtful. That the 
coast was dangerous, and shores sandy, seemed to be confirmed by 
Mr. M c Cluer's chart ; and that they were peopled by " divers cruel, 
" poor, and brutal nations," was certainly not improbable, but it 
rested upon very suspicious authority. The Instructions to Tasman 
said, in 1644, " Nova Guinea has been found to be inhabited by 
" cruel, wild, savages ; and as it is uncertain what sort of people the 
" inhabitants of the South Lands are, it may be presumed that they 
" are also wild and barbarous savages, rather than a civilized people." 
This uncertainty, with respect to the natives of Arnhem's and the 
northern Van Diemen's Lands, remained, in a great degree, at the 
end of the eighteenth century. 

Thus, whatever could bear the name of exact, whether in natural 
history, geography, or navigation, was yet to be learned of a 

Digitized by 


xlviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Conclusive country possessing five hundred leagues of sea-coast ; and placed 
in a climate and neighbourhood, where the richest productions of 
both the vegetable and mineral kingdoms were known to exist. A 
voyage which should have had no other view, than the survey of 
Torres' Strait and the thorough investigation of the North Coast of 
Terra Australis, could not have been accused of wanting an object 
worthy of national consideration. 

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[ *1« ] 




Preliminary Observations. Discoveries of Hartog: Edel: of the Ship 
Leeuwin: the Vianen: of Pelsert: Tastnan: Dantpier: V laming; 
Dampier. Conclusive Remarks. 

Under the term Western Coasts, is comprehended the space Preliminary 
from the western extremity of the northern Van Diemen's Land to ttans. 
the North-west Cape of New Holland ; and from thence, southward (Atlas, PL I.) 
to Cape Leeuwin. The first is usually termed the North-west, and 
the second the West Coast: Taken together, they present an extent 
of shore of between seven and eight hundred leagues in length; 
lying in the fine climates comprised between the nth and 35th 
degrees of south latitude. 

The recital of discoveries in Tasman's instructions speaks of the 
first knowledge gained of these coasts in the following terms : " In 
*' the years 1616, 1618, 1619, and 1622, the west coast of this Great 
* c unknown South Land, from 35° to 22* south latitude, was discovered 
u by outward-bound ships ; and among them by the ship Endragt" 
The recital gives no further particulars ; but from thence, and from 
a manuscript chart by Eessel Gerrits, 1627,* there seems to be suffi- 
cient authority for attributing die first authenticated discovery of any 
part of the Western Coasts to Dirk Hartog, commander of the ship H ™^ > 

* See Dalrymple'a Collection concerning Papua, aote, page 6L 
VOL. I. % H 

Digitized by 


INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

Habioo. Endragt, outward-bound from Holland to India. He appears to 

lfil ft 

have first seen the West Coast in latitude about 26*1 south ; and to 
have sailed northward along it, to about 23 ; giving the name 
Landt de Endragt, to the country so discovered. An important 
part of his discovery was Dirk Hartog's Road ( at the entrance of a 
sound afterwards called Shark's Bay, by Dampier), lying a little 
south of 25 . Upon one of the islands which form the road -there 
was found, first in 1697, and afterwards in 1801, a plate of tin, 
bearing the following inscription. 

" Anno 1616, the 25th of October arrived here the ship Endragt 
" of Amsterdam ; the first merchant Gillis Miebais of Luik, Dirk 
" Hartog of Amsterdam, captain. They sailed from hence for 
" Bantam, the 27th D°." On the lower part, as far as could be 
distinguished in 1697, was cut with a knife, " The under merchant 
" Jan Stins; chief mate Pieter Dookus of Bill. A°. 1616." 

The Mauritius, another outward-bound ship, appears to have 
made some further discovery upon the West Coast, in July 161 8, 
particularly of Willem's River, near the North-wfest Cape; but no 
further particulars are known. 

Edbl. In Campbell's edition of Harris 9 Voyages (p. 325), it is said, 
" The next year the Land of Edel was found, and received its 
" name from the discoverer/' The president De Brosses says 
nearly the same thing (Tome I. p. 432); whence, combining this 
with the Dutch recital and the chart of Eessel Gerritz, it should 
appear that J. de Edel commanded an outward-bound ship; and, 
in July 1619, accidentally fell in with that part of the West Coast 
to which his name is applied. The extent of Edel's discovery 
appears, from Thevenot's chart, to have been from about the latitude 
*9 # , northward to 26^°, where the Land of Endragt commences ; 
but in a chart of this coast, by Van Keulen, the name is extended 
southward to 32° so', past the island Rottcnest, which, according 

Digitized by 


Western Coasts.] ^ m INTRODUCTION. K 

to Thevenot, should rather have been the discovery of the ship edel. 
Leeuwin. l619 ' 

The great reef lying off the coast of Edel, called Houtman's 
Abrolhos, was discovered at the same time ; probably by Edel, or by 
some ship in the same squadron. 

I do not find it any where said who commanded the Leeuwin, or Thei*****. 
lioness ; but it should appear, that this was also one of the out- 162 *' 
ward-bound ships which fell in with the West Coast. In Thevenot's 
chart, Leeuwin's Land comprehends about ninety leagues of the 
south-west extremity of New Holland; and, from the latitude of 35°, 
extends northward to about 51° ; but in later publications, it has 
been much restricted in its northern limit, apparently, upon the 
authority of Van Keulen. 

The next discovery upon the Western Coasts was that of die The rumen. 
ship Vianen, one of the seven which returned to Europe under the 
command of the governor-general Carpenter. The Dutch recital 
speaks of this discovery in the following terms. The coast was 
seen " again accidentally in the year 1628, cm the north side, in the 
" latitude ai* south, by the ship Vianen, homeward bound from 
" India; when they coasted two-hundred miles, without gaining 
" any knowledge of this Great Country; only observing a foul and 
" barren shore, green fields, and very wild, black, barbarous 
" inhabitants/' 

This was the part called De Witt's Land; but whether the 
name were applied by the captain of the Vianen does not appear in 
the recital. De Brosses says, " William de Witt gave his own 
" name to the country which he saw in i6*8, to the north of 
" Remessen's River ; and which Viane, a Dutch captain, had, to 
*' his misfortune, discovered in the month of January in the same 
" year; when he was driven upon this coast of De Witt, in 21° of 
" latitude, and lost all his riches." The confusion that reigns in the 

Digitized by 



Hi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

The rumen, president's account does not render it improbable, that the country 
1 ** 8# might have received its name in the way he describes, and in the 
year 16*8 ; for, in 1644, De Witt's Land is used as a known term 
for this part of the North-west Coast. 

Pelsirt. Thus far, the parts of the Western Coasts have been distinguished 
by little else than the dates and limits of their discovery ; for, in 
fact, this is all that has reached us from these early navigators. 
The following account is of a different chat acter : it is extracted 
from the twenty-first piece in Thevenot's collection; and, in the 
table of contents, is said to be translated from the Dutch. 

The Bat avid, commanded by Francisco Pelsert, struck, in the 
night of June 4, 1639, upon a reef, " called by our Flemings the 
" Abrolhos or Rocks of Frederick Iloiitman" lying off the west coast 
of New Holland. At daylight, an island was seen about three 
leagues distant, and two islets, or rather rocks, somewhat nearer, 
to which the passengers and part of the crew were sent. There 
being no fresh water to be found upon these islands, Pelsert had a 
deck laid over one of the boats; and, on June 8, put to sea, in order 
to make search upon die opposite main land: his latitude, at noon, 
was 28° 13' south. 

A short time after quitting the Abrolhos, captain Pelsert got sight 
of the coast, which, by estimation, bore N. by W. eight leagues 
from the place of shipwreck.* He had 35 to 30 fathoms, and stood 
off till midnight, when he again steered for the land ; and in the 
morning of the 9th, it was four leagues off. He ran that day from 
five to seven leagues, sometimes to the north, sometimes to die west % 
the direction pf the coast being N. by W. : it appeared to be rocky, 
—without trees,— ^and about the same height as the coast of Dover. 

• Thcvcnot says six tnffle*, and does not explain what kind of miles they are; but it 
is most probable that be literally copied his original, and that they are Dutch miles of 
fifteen to a degree. Van Keulen, in speaking of Houtman's Abrolhos, says, page Hfy 
* This shoal is, as we believe, 11 or 12 leagues (8 5 9 mijlm) from the coast." 

Digitized by 


We$tem Coasts .} INTRODUCTION. liU 

A small, sandy bay was seen, into which Pelsert desired to enter; Pblsiet. 
but finding too much surf, and the weather becoming bad, he was 16W * 
obliged to haul further off, 

July 10. He kept in the same parallel, upon a wind ; the weather 
being bad, and his boat very leaky. Next day, the wind was at 
W. S. W., and more moderate. He then steered north ; for the sea 
was too high to approach the shore in safety. On the isth, Pelsert 
observed the latitude to be 27 , and steered along the coast with a 
fair wind at S. E. ; but the shore was too steep to admit of landing ; 
neither could he find any bay or island to break off the sea. At a 
distance, the land seemed fertile and covered with plants. The lati- 
tkude, on the 13th, was 35° 40', which shewed a current setting to 
the northward. Here Pelsert found himself a-breast of an opening, 
where the coast trends to the north-east (apparently into Shark's 
Bay). The course this day was nearly north; the shore consisted 
of reddish rock, of an equal height ; and there being no island in 
front, the waves, which broke high upon it, prevented landing. 

June 14. The wind was at east ; and at noon, the latitude was 
observed to be 24°. The tides (or rather the current) took the 
boat further to the north than was desired ;* for Pelsert then carried 
but little sail, in the hope to find a landing place without going 
further. Perceiving some smokes at a distance, he rowed towards 
them ; but the shore proved to be steep, with many rocks, and 
the sea broke high against it. At length, six of his people leaped 
overboard, and with much labour and risk got through the surf, 
Whilst the boat remained at anchor, in 25 fathoms. The sailors 
employed the rest of the day in seeking for water ; and on looking 
about on every side, they saw four natives creeping towards them 
cm their hands and feet. One of " pur people*' having appeared on 
an eminence, near them, the natives rose up and took to flight ; so 
that those who were in the boat could see them distinctly. These 
men were wild, black, and altogether naked ; not covering even those 
parts which almost all savages conceal. 

Digitized by 


li* INTRODUCTION. [Prior Dtscoveriei. 

Pblsmt. The six sailors, losing all hope of finding water, swam back to 
1629. thg boat^ wounded and bruised by the blows they had received 
from the waves and rocks. The anchor was then weighed, and 
Pelsert continued his course, under easy sail, along the coast ; but 
keeping without side of the shoals. The 15th in the morning, they 
discovered a cape, off which lay a chain of rocks, running out four 
miles into the sea ; and behind this was another reef, close to the 
shore. The water being tolerably still between them, Pelsert thought 
to pass through ; but the reefs joined round further on, and obliged 
him to return. At noon, an opening was seen, where the water was 
smooth, and they went into it, but with considerable danger; for 
the depth was no more than two feet, and the bottom stony. On 
landing, the people dug holes in the sand ; but the water which 
oozed in was salt. At length, fresh rain water was found in the 
cavities of the rocks, and afforded them great relief; for they had, 
hitherto, been confined to a pint of water each. They staid on shore 
that night, and collected full forty gallons. Ashes and the remains 
of cray fish were found ; which shewed that the natives had been 
there no long time before. 

July 16. They sought to collect more water, but were unsuc- 
cessful; and none could be expected in the sandy, level country 
behind the coast. This plain was destitute of both grass and trees, 
and covered with ant hills so large, that they might have been taken 
for the houses of Indians. The quantity of flies was such, that the 
people had great difficulty in keeping them off. Eight savages, with 
with each a stick (probably a spear) in his hand, were seen at a 
distance. They came within musket shot ; but on the Dutch sailors 
going towards them they took to flight. 

Captain Pelsert, being at length convinced of the impossibility of 
procuring more water, determined to quit this coast. At noon, he 
got withoutside of the reef by a second opening more to the north ; 
for, having observed the latitude to be 2 2 17', his intention was to 
seek for the River of Jacob Remessens (near the North-west Cape) ; 

Digitized by 


Western Coa$U.) 



but the wind veering to north-east, he could no longer follow the 
direction of the coast. Considering, then, that he was more than 
four hundred miles ftfom the place of shipwreck, and that scarcely 
water enough had been found for themselves, Pelsert resolved to 
make the best of his way to Batavia, to solicit assistance from the 

In the mean time, some one of the people left upon the islands of 
the Abrolhos thought of tasting the water in two holes, which, from 
its rising and falling with the tide, was believed to be salt ; but, to 
their great surprise and joy," it was found good to drink, and never 
failed them afterwards. 

On Pelsert's return to the Abrolhos in the yacht Sardam, he was 
under the necessity of executing some atrocious conspirators, and 
two were set on shore upon the opposite main land.* Tasman was 
directed by his instructions, in 1644, to " inquire at the continent 
" thereabout, after two Dutchmen ; who, having forfeited their lives, 
" were put on shore by the commodore Francisco Pelsert, if still 
u alive. In such case, you may make your inquiries of them about 
" the situation of those countries ; and if they entreat you to that 
* purpose, give them passage hither/' 


It is not from any direct information, that Abel Jansz Tasman tasmah. 
is placed as the next discoverer upon the western coasts of Terra l644# 
Australis ; for, as has been already observed, no account of his second 
toyage has ever been made public, or is any such known to exist. 
It is, however, supposed, with great probability of truth, tfyat, after 
the examination of the North Coast, he pursued his course westward 
along the shore to the North-west Cape, conformably to his instruc- 
tions ; but that he did not go further southward along the Land of 

• * For an account of the miseries and horrors which took place on the islands of the 
Abrolhos daring the absence of Pelsert, the English reader is referred to VoL I. p. 320 
to 325 of CampbeWn edition of Harri*' Voyages; but the nautical details there given 
are very incorrect. 

Digitized by 


!vi INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discovert**. 

Tasmmt. Endragt than to the tropic of Capricorn, where he quitted his exa- 
1644# mination, and returned to Batavia. 

The chart published by Thevenot, in 1663, gives a form to the 
Westeln Coasts, and joins diem to the northern Van Diemen's Land; 
but it is evident from Tasman's instructions, that the part between 
De Witt's Land and Cape Van Diemen was unknown to the Dutch 
government at Batavia in 1644. And since there is no account of 
its having been seen during die intermediate nineteen years, it may 
be concluded, that the North-west Coast was first explored by him; 
and Dampier says ( Vol. III. p. 96), that he had Tasman's chart of 
it ; though none bearing his name can now be'found.* 

The notes of burgomaster Witsen shew, that the North-west 
Coast was visited by Tasman ; and as they give the earliest infor- 
mation of the inhabitants, and are curious in themselves, they are 
here transcribed from Mr. Dalrymple's Papua. 

" In lat. 13° 8' S. Ion. 146* 18'" (probably about izg? east of 
Greenwich), " the coast is barren. The people are bad and wicked, 
« shooting at the Dutch with arrows, without provocation, when 

they were coming on shore : It is here very populous/' 
In 14° 58' S. Ion. 138* 59? (about 125 east), the people are 
" savage, and go naked : none can understand them. 

«' In Hollandia NovA/f in 17 ia / S. (Ion. isi° or i»a° east) 
" Tasman found a naked, black people, with curly hair ; malicious 
u and cruel, using for arms, bows and arrows, hazeygaeys and 
" kalawaeys. They once came to the number of fify, double 
" armed, dividing themselves into two parties, intending to have 

• The French editor of the Voyage de DScottvertes aux Terres jfustrales, published 
in 1807, Vol. I. p. 128, attributes the formation of the North-west Coast in the common 
charts to the expedition of the three Dutch vessels sent from Timor in 1 705. But this 
is a mistake. It is the chart of Thevenot, his countryman, published forty-two years 
previously to that expedition, which has been mostly followed by succeeding geographers* 

f This expression indicates, that the before-mentioned places were not then included, 
mnder the term Nxw Holland by Witsen: he wrote in 1705. 


Digitized by 


Western Coasts.] INTRODUCTION. Ivii 

" surprised the Dutch, who had landed twenty-five men; but the Tasmak. 
" firing of guns frightened them so that they fled. Their prows are l644 ' 
" made of the bark of trees: their coast is dangerous: there are 
" few vegetables : the people use no houses." 

" In 19° 35' S. long. 134 (about 120 , apparently), the inhabitants 
" are very numerous, and threw stones at the boats sent by the 
" Dutch to the shore. They made fires and smoke all along the 
" coast, which, it was conjectured, they did to give notice to their 
" neighbours of strangers being upon the coast. They appear to live 
" very poorly ; go naked ; eat yams and other roots." 

The buccaneers with whom our celebrated navigator, William Damp«*. 
Dampier, made a voyage round the world, came upon the north- 
west coast of Terra Australis, for the purposes of careening their 
vessel, and procuring refreshments. They made the land in the 
latitude of 16* 50', due south from a shoal whose longitude is now 
known to be 122^° east. From thence, they ran along the shore, 
N. E. by E. twelve leagues, to a bay or opening, where a convenient 
place was found for their purpose. Dampier's description of the 
country and inhabitants of the place, where he remained from Jan. 5. 
to March 12., is contained in the account of his voyages, Vol. I. 
page 462 to 470 ; and renders it unnecessary to do more than to 
mark its coincidence or disagreement with what is said, in the above 
note from Tasman, of the inhabitants and country near the same 
part of the coast. 

Dampier agrees in the natives being " a naked, black people, with 
" curly hair," like that of the negroes ; but he says they have " a 
" piece of the rind of a tree tied like a girdle about their waists, and 
" a handful of long grass, or three or four green boughs full of 
" leaves, thrust under their girdle, to cover their nakedness." Also, 
" that the two fore teeth of the upper jaw are wanting in all of them, 
" men and women, old and young : neither have they any beards ;" 
which circumstances are not mentioned in the note from Tasman. 

vol. 1. I 

Digitized by 






[Prior Discoveries. 

Dampier did not see either bows or arrows amongst them ; but says, 
" the men, at our first coming ashore, threatened us with their lances 
" and swords ; but they were frightened by firing one gun, which 
" we did purposely to scar them." Of " their prows made of the 
" bark of trees," he saw nothing. On the contrary, he " espied a 
" drove of these men swimming from one island to another ; for 
" they have no boats, canoes, or bark logs." The English navigator is 
silent as to any dangers upon the twelve leagues of coast seen by 
him ; but fully agrees in the scarcity of the vegetable productions, 
and in the circumstance of the natives using no houses. 

Vlamino. The relation of Willem de VlaminG's voyage to New Holland 

1696. J ° 

was published at Amsterdam in 1701 ; but not havihg been fortu- 
nate enough to procure it, I have had recourse to Valentyn, who, in 
his Description of Banda, has given what appears to be an abridg- 
ment of the relation. What follows is conformable to the sense of 
the translation which Dr. L. Tiarks had the goodness to make for 
me ; and the reasons for entering more into the particulars of this 
voyage than usual are, the apparent correctness of the observations, 
and that no account of them seems to have been published in the 
English language.* 

A Dutch ship, called the Ridderschap, having been missing from 
the time she had left the Cape of Good Hope, in 1684 or 1685, it 
was thought probable she might have been wrecked upon the Great 
South Land, and that some of the crew might (in 1696) be still 
living. Accordingly, the commodore Willem de Vlaming, who was 
going out to India with the Geelvink, Nyptang, and Wezel, was 
ordered to make a search for them. 

On Dec. 28, the ships got soundings in 48 fathoms, coral bottom ; 
in latitude 31° 53', and longitude 133° 44' (east, apparently, from the 

• The AbM Privost in his Hist. gen. des Voyages, Tome XVI. (h la Haye) p. 79— 
81, has given some account of Vlaming's voyage in French; but the observations on the 
coast between Shark's Bay and Willem's River are there wholly omitted. 

Digitized by 


Western Coasts.] INTRODUCTION. lix 

Peak of Teneriffe, 1 6° 45* to the west of Greenwich) ; where the Vnm**. 
variation was observed to be io° 28' west: they afterwards had 25 
fathoms, on better ground. On the 29th, they anchored under the 
island Rottenest, which lies in lat. 31 50', long. 134 25* ;* and next 
day, a piece of wood, which had some time been fixed to the deck 
of a ship, was found upon the shore ; but the nails were then rusted 
away. Fire wood was abundant here. 

Jan. 5. Vlaming went on shore (to the main coast), with eighty- iw» 
eight armed men, and walked inland to the eastward. There were 
a few large, and some small trees, from which dropped a kind of 
gum-lac ; but they found nothing which could be used as food : the 
birds were small cockatoos and green parrots, and both were very 
shy. At the end of three hours walk they came to a piece of 
water, which was salt, and upon the beach were footsteps of full- 
grown persons and of children. No men were seen, but they ob- 
served many smokes ; and found three deserted huts, so low and ill- 
constructed as to be inferior to those of the Hottentots. 

On the 6th, they divided themselves into three parties : one took 
to the north, another to the south, and the third went four miles 
east, more into the interior ; but, except one or two decayed huts, 
they met with nothing. Being returned to the salt lake without 
finding fresh water, they dug a pit near the side of it, and obtained 
wherewith to relieve their thirst. The lake had fallen a foot, which 
shewed it to have a communication with the sea ; and they after- 
wards found the outlet, a little to the southward. No noxious ani- 
mal of any kind was seen ; and after remaining on shore all night, 
they returned on board on the 7th. The ships were then anchored 

* The account in Pirn Keulen is somewhat different. He says u we steered for the 
" Land of Endragt ; and on Dec. 28, got soundings in 63 fathoms, sandy bottom. The 
" ensuing day we had 30 fathoms, and the coast was then in sight. The Island Rottenest, 
" in 32° south latitude, was the land we steered for ; and we had from ?0 to 10 fathoms; 
" in which last we anchored on a sandy bottom." 

Digitized by 


Ix INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Vlamiwg. nearer to the land, with the entrance of the lake or river bearing 
S. E. by E. The commodore afterwards went up this river, to the 
distance of fourteen or sixteen leagues, and caught some smelts, 
as also several black swans, of which two were taken alive to 

Having clearly ascertained the latitude (of the ships at anchor, 
most probably,) to be 31° 43' south, and discovered a reef four geo- 
graphic miles in length, and two miles from the shore, they sailed 
from thence on Jan. 13. The wind was from the southward; and 
whilst the ships steered N. by W., parallel to the coast, the boats ran 
along within them, to examine it more closely. On the 15th, the 
people from the boatj reported that they had seen neither men nor 
animals, and very few trees; but had met with a reef near the 
shore, in 30° 17'; and many shoals, both under and above water. 

Fires uport the land were seen from all the ships in the night of 
Jan. 16; and next day, a boat was sent with armed people; but they 
returned with nothing, except some sea-mews which had been caught 
upon the islands and shoals lying along the coast. On the 18th, the 
ships were in latitude 30 30', and found the variation to be 9° 21' 
west; and the 20th, some small islands were seen, and shrubs ob- 
served on the main land. On the 23rd, they were near a steep head, 
in 28° 8', and sent a boat to the shore ; but the high surf prevented 
landing. People were perceived walking on the downs, but at too 
great a distance to distinguish more than that they were of the 
common stature, black, and naked.-f- The boat got on shore soon 
afterward, when some brackish water was found ; and having landed 
again on the 27th, the people saw some huts, as also the footsteps 
of men, and some birds ; but there was no other vegetation than 

* This appears to be the first mention made of the black swan : the river was named 
Black-Swan River. 

t It was near this place that captain Pelsert put the two Dutch conspirators on 
shore in 1629. Vlaming appears to have passed within Houtmaris Abrolhos without 
seeing them. 

Digitized by 


Western Coasts.] INTRODUCTION ki 

small shrubs. Some very indifferent water was the sole useful thing Vlamino 
met with, and it was too far off for any to be taken on board. * m * 

Jan. 30. The boats were again sent on shore, and discovered two 
inlets, of which the southernmost, in latitude 26 16', was three 
miles in width. On Feb. 2, they found two other openings, very 
deep, one of which ran up northward, and the other to the east, far 
inland. They went eleven leagues up the first of these, and found 
that it had another communication with the sea, to the N. N. W.* 
On the 3rd, a boat brought the above account ; and also, that the 
chief mate of the Geelvink had found a plate of tin, with an inscrip- 
tion commemorating the arrival and departure of Dirk Hartog. ( See 
the inscription under the article Hartog, preceding. ) This Road of 
Dirk Hartog's Bay, where the plate had been set up, is in «$° 24/; 
and the west variation was 8° 34/. 

No mention is made by Valentyn of the ships entering the road, 
nor of their departure from it; but it should seem that they anchored 
on Feb. 4. On the 5th, commodore Vlaming and the commander 
of the Nyptang went with three boats to the shore, which proved to 
be an island. They found also a river, and went up it four or five 
leagues, amongst rocks and shoals; when they saw much water 
inland, as if the country were drowned, but no men, nor any thing 
for food; and, wherever they dug, the ground was salt. They 
afterwards came to another river, .which they ascended about one 
league, and found it to terminate in a round basin, and to be 
entirely sjtlt water. No men were seen, nor any animals, except 
divers which were very shy ; and the country was destitute of grass 
and trees. Returning downward on the 10th, they saw footsteps of 
men and children, of the common size, and observed the point of 
entrance into the river to be of a very red sand. 

The ships appear to have left Dirk Hartog's Road on Feb. 12. 

* These two openings, which in the original are called rivers, were nothing more than 
the entrance into Shark's Bay. A small island, lying a little within the entrance, proba- 
bly made it be taken for two openings. 

Digitized by 


lxii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Vlaminq. In the evening, the west variation was observed to be f si'; and 
on the 13th, they saw a cliffy point from whence three shoals, con- 
nected by a reef, stretch out to the N. N. E. The shore here, in 
latitude 24 42', lies S. by E. and N. by W. On the 16th, they 
passed round the point, and steered southward along the inner side 
of this land ; and having doubled its south fend, found that it was 
an island : their latitude was then 24 54'. 

Feb. 17. The variation was observed to be 5 west, in latitude 
*8° 59'- Eight miles south of this situation they saw a bay with a 
rugged point ; but to the northward the land was low : the west 
variation was 7 3', in the evening. They discovered some reefs 
on the 19th, lying three geographic miles off shore ; and also a 
point or cape (the North-west Cape) from which a reef extended 
two miles to the N. N. W. On the north side of this cape is a bay, 
where the Geelvink anchored; and a little further on (eastward), 
the other two vessels found an opening like a river, whose entrance was 
twelve miles wide. They went into it, but could no where find anchor- 
age. The bay is called Willem's River; and the two vessels after- 
wards there joined the Geelvink : it is in 21 s8'. The same day it 
was determined to sail for Batavia, every thing having been done 
that the commodore's orders required; and, on the s&ist, they de- 
parted accordingly. 

Thus the West Coast, from the island Rottenest to the North-west 
Cape, was examined with care by Vlaming; and it is most probable, 
that the chart in Van Keulen, which Mr. Dalrymple republished, 
and was the best known at the end of the eighteenth century, 
resulted from this same voyage. 

Dampibr. Captain William Dampier visited, a second time, the western 


coasts of Terra Australis ; being then sent out purposely for disco- 
very, in his Majesty's ship the Roebuck. 

In the night of Aug. 1, 1699, he struck soundings upon the 
northern part of the Abrolhos shoal, in latitude about 27 40' south. 

Digitized by 


Western Coast*.] INTRODUCTION. lxiii 

Next morning he saw the main coast, and ran northward along it ; Dampibr. 
discovering, in a6° 10', an opening two leagues wide, but full of rocks l m * 
and foul ground. Aug. 6, he anchored ( in Dirk Hartog's Road) at the 
entrance of a sound, which he named Shark's Bay, in latitude 
25 5' south. He remained there eight days, examining the sound, 
cutting wood upon the islands, fishing, &c. ; and gives a description 
of what was seen in his usually circumstantial manner.* 

An animal found upon one of the islands is described as " a sort 
" of raccoon, different from that of the West Indies, chiefly as to 
" the legs ; for these have very short fore legs ; but go jumping 
" upon them" (not upon the short fore, but the long hind, legs, it 
is to be presumed), " as the others do ; and like them are very good 
" meat." This appears to have been the small kanguroo, since found 
upon the islands which form the road ; and if so, this description is 
probably the first ever made of that singular animal, 

Leaving Shark's Bay on Aug. 14, captain Dampier steered north- 
ward, along the coast ; but at too great a distance to make much 
observation upon it, until he got round the North-west Cape. On the 
ssnd, he saw an extensive cluster of islands ; and anchored, in lati- 
tude 20° ai # , under one of the largest, which he called Rosemary 
Island. This was near the southern part of De Witt's Land ; but, 
besides an error in latitude of 40', he complains that, in Tasman's 
chart, " the shore is laid down as all along joining in one body, or 
" continent, with some openings like rivers; and not Jjke islands, as 
" really they are." — " By what we saw of them, they must have 
" been a range of islands, of about twenty leagues in length, stretch- 
" ing from E. N. E. to W. S. W. ; and for ought I know, as far as to 
" those of Shark's Bay ; and to a considerable breadth also, for we 
" could see nine or ten leagues in amongst them, towards the con- 
" tinent or main land of New Holland, if there be any such thing 

• For the foil account of Dampier's proceedings and observations, with views of the 
land, see his Voyages, Vol. III. page 81, et seq. ( 

Digitized by 


Ixiv INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

Dammer. " hereabouts .-'And by the great tides I met with awhile afterwards, 
" more to the north-east, I had a strong suspicion that here might 
" be a kind of archipelago of islands ; and a passage, possibly, to the 
" south of New Holland and New Guinea, into the great South 
" Sea, eastward/' 

Not finding fresh water upon such of the islands as were visited 
that day, captain Dampier quitted his anchorage next morning, 
and " steered away E. N. E., coasting along as the land lies/' He 
seems to have kept the land in sight, in the day time, at the distance 
of four to six leagues ; but the shore being low, this was too far 
for him to be certain whether all was main land which he saw ; ancj 
what might have been passed in the night was still more doubtful. 

Aug. 30, being in latitude 18 ai', and the weather fair, captain 
Dampier steered in for the shore ; and anchored in 8 fathoms, about 
three-and-half leagues off. The tide ran " very swift here ; so that 
" our nun-buoy would not bear above the water to be seen. It flows 
" here, as on that part of New Holland I described formerly, about 
" five fathoms." 

He had hitherto seen no inhabitants ; but now met with several. 
The place at which he had touched in the former voyage " was hot 
" above forty or fifty leagues to the north-east of this. And these 
" were much the same blinking creatures ( here being also abun- 
" dance of the same kind of flesh flies teizing them), and with the 
" same black* skins, and hair frizzled, tall and thin, &c, as those 
" were. But we had not the opportunity to see whether these, as 
" the former, wanted two of their fore teeth." One of them, who 
was supposed to be a chief, " was painted with a circle of white 
" paste or pigment about his eyes, and a white streak down his nose, 
" from his forehead to the tip of it. And his breast, and some part 
" of his arms, were also made white with the same paint." 

Neither bows nor arrows were observed amongst these people : 
they used wooden lances, such as Dampier had before seen. He 
saw no houses at either place, and believed they had none; but 

Digitized by 


Weitern CWfc.] INTRODUCTION. far 

" there were several things like haycocks, standing in the savannah ; Bampiwu 
" which, at a distance, we thought were houses, looking just like the 
" Hottentots* houses at the Cape of Good Hope; but we found them 
" to be so many rocks.* 

The land near the sea-coast is described as equally sandy with 
the part§ before visited, and producing, amongst its scanty vegeta- 
tion, nothing for food. No stream of fresh water was seen, nor 
could any, fit to drink, be procured by digging. 

Quitting this inhospitable shore, captain Dampier weighed his 
anchor on September 5, with the intention of seeking water and 
refreshments further on to the north-eastward. The shoals obliged 
him to keep at a considerable distance from the land ; and finally, 
when arrived at the latitude 16 9', to give up his project, and direct 
his course for Timor. 

With the voyage of Dampier terminates the information gained of condusire 
the Western Coasts, previously to the year 1801. Monsieur de St. Rfimarkf - 
Alouarn had, indeed, seen some points or islands, in the year 177s, 
when he commanded the French fi&te Le Gros Ventre ; but the par- 
ticulars are not generally known, being, in all probability, of little 

The summary of the knowledge possessed by the public, and the 
objects to which investigation might be usefully directed in these 
parts of Terra Australis, were as follow. The outline of the north- 
west coast was known upon the authority, as generally believed, of 
Tasman ; with some points corrected by Dampier. The accuracy of 
Tasman's chart was, however, very much called in: doubt : instead 
of being a continued shore, as the Dutch chart represented it, Dam- 
pier found the southern parts of De Witt's Land to consist of a range 
of islands. And he gives it as his opinion, that the northern part of 

* Dampier could not have, examined these rocks closely ; for there can be little doubt 
that they were the ant hills described by Pelsert as being " so large, that they might huve 
" been taken for the houses of Indians/' 
VOL. I. K 

Digitized by 


lxvi INTRODUCTION. [Pjrior Di*cwerie$: 

Dimpier. New Holland was separated From the lands to the southward, by a 
im®. stj-ait . a unless/' says he, " the high tides and indraught thereabout 
" should be occasioned by the mouth of some large river ; which 
" hath often low lands on each side of the outlet, and many islands 
" and shoals lying at its entrance : but I rather thought it a channel, 
" or strait, than a river/' This opinion he supports by a fair induc- 
tion from facts ; and the opening of twelve miles wide, seen near the 
same place by Vlaming's two vessels, and in which they could find 
no anchorage, strongly corroborated Dampier's supposition. 

Later information had demonstrated, that the supposed strait could 
not lead out into the Great Ocean, eastward, as the English navigator 
had conjectured ; but it was thought possible, that it might com- 
municate with the Gulph of Carpentaria, and even probable that a 
passage existed from thence to the unknown part of the^ South Coast, 
beyond the Isles of St. Francis and St. Peter. 

But whether this opening were the entrance to a strait, separating 
Terra Australis into two or more islands, or led into a mediter- 
ranean sea, as some thought ; or whether it were the entrance of a 
large river, there was, in either case, a great geographical question 
to be settled, relative to the parts behind Rosemary Island. 

If Tasman's chart were defective at De Witt's Land, it was likely 
to be so in other parts of the same coast ; where there was no 
account, or belief, that it had been examined by any other person 
further north than the latitude i6±\ An investigation of the 
whole North-west Coast, with its numerous islands and shoals, was,' 
therefore, required, before it could enter into the present improved 
systems of geography and navigation. 

The chart of the West Coast, as far south as Rottenest, was 
founded upon much better authority ; but for its formation from 
thence to Cape Leeuwin there were no good documents. In this 
part, there was room even for discovery ; and the whole coast 
required to be laid down with more accuracy than had been attain- 
able by the Dutch navigators. 

Digitized by 


Western Coasts.] INTRODUCTION. lxvii 

As to the soil and vegetable productions upon several points near Conclusive 
the sea, from Rottenest, northward to i6£, there was tolerably "^ 
good general information ; the inhabitants, also, had been seen ; 
and, at one place, communication with them had been obtained. The 
accounts did, certainly, not give any flattering prospect, that much 
interesting knowledge was likely to be acquired under these heads, 
unless a strait, or inland sea, were found ; but the accounts were 
not only confined as to place, but, with the exception of Dampier's, 
were very imperfect ; and the great extent of the coasts, in the richest 
climates of the world, excited hopes that a close investigation would 
not only be of advantage to natural history, but would bring to light 
something useful in the mineral or vegetable kingdoms. 

In the case of penetrating the interior of Terra Australis, whether 
by a great river, or a strait leading to an inland sea, a superior 
country, and perhaps a different people, might be found, the know- 
ledge of which could not fail to be very interesting, and might 
prove advantageous to the nation making the discovery. 

Digitized by 


[ hcviii } 




Discovery of Nuyts. Examination of Vancouver: of & Entrecasteaux. 

Conclusive Remark*. 

Nuyts. JNo historical feet seems to be less disputed, than that the South 
(AtLPL I ) ^ oa5t °£ ^ ew Holland was first discovered in January 1627 : whe- 
ther it were the 26th, according to De Hondt, or the 16th, as is 
expressed on Thevenofs charts is of very little import. It is generally 
said, that the ship was commanded by Pieter Nuyts ; but as Nuyts, 
on his arrival at Batavia, was sent ambassador to Japan, and after- 
wards made governor of Formosa, it seems more probable that he 
was a civilian, perhaps Company's first merchant on board, rather 
than captain of the ship : the land discovered has, however, always 
borne his name. 

The Dutch recital says, — €% In the year 1627, the South Coast of 
" the Great South Land was accidentally discovered by the ship the 
" Guide Zeepaardj outward-bound from Fatherland, for the space of 
" a thousand miles." 

This discovery has always been considered as of importance. A 
memoir was published at Amsterdam in 1718, " to prove, that Nuyts' 
" Land, being in the fifth climate, between 34° and 36 of latitude ; 
" it ought to be, like all other countries so situated, one of the most 
" habitable, most rich, and most fertile parts of the world."* The 
* Hist, des Nov. aux litres Australes. Tome I. page 429. 

Digitized by 



journal of this discovery aeems to have been lost; or possibly was Nvyts. 
either suppressed or destroyed, according to what is thought to have 
been the Dutch policy of that time. It was, therefore, from the 
chart, Mid the above passage in the recital, alone, that any particulars 
could be drawn. If the extent of a thousand miles were take* to be 
in a straight line, and to commence at Cape Leeuwin, the end of 
Nuyts' Land would reach nearly to the longitude of 135* east of 
Greenwich; but if y as was probable, the windings of the shore were 
included, and a deduction made of one-sixth to one-seventh in the 
distance, then the Isles of St. Francis and St. Peter might be ex- 
pected to be found between the igand and 133rd degrees of east 

Witb the exception of Mons. de St. Alouarn, who is said to have Vawcouyh. 
anchored near Cape Leeuwin in 1772, the south coast of Terra 1791# 
Australia, though occupying much attention from geographers, seems 
to have been left un visited from 16*7 to 1791. In this year, captain 
George Vancouver, being on his way to North-west America, 
made the South Coast on Sept «6, at Cape Chatham, in latitude 
35° 3' south, and longitude 116* 35* east, not many leagues beyond 
where Nuyts appears to have commenced his discovery. He sailed 
eastward, from thence, along the shore, till the a8th; when he 
anchored in a sound, to which was given the name of King George 
the III. 

The country in the neighbourhood of the Sound, and of its two 
harbours, was found to be agreeably variegated in form; to be 
clothed with grass and wood ; and, though generally more barren 
than fertile, yet affording many spots capable of cultivation. No 
considerable river was discovered; but fresh water was every where 
abundant for domestic purposes ; and the climate was judged to be 
aan healthy as the temperature was found to be agreeable, Kan- 
guroos did not appear to be scarce; nor were the woods ill tenanted 
by the feathered tribes; and reptiles and other noxious animals were 

Digitized by 


lxx INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

Vancouver, not numerous. Amongst the aquatic birds, black swans and wild 
ducks held a distinguished place ; but, like the land animals, were 
very shy : sea and shell fish were in tolerable abundance. 

None of the inhabitants were seen ; but from the appearance of 
their deserted huts, they were judged to be the same miserable race 
as those of the North-west and East Coasts. No marks of canoes, 
nor the remains of fish, even shell fish, were found near their habi- 
tations ; and this circumstance, with the shyness of the birds and 
quadrupeds, induced a belief that the natives depended principally 
upon the woods for their subsistence. 

Captain Vancouver quitted King George's Sound ori Oct. 11, and 
proceeded eastward in the examination of the coast ; but unfavour- 
able winds prevented him from doing this so completely as he wished, 
and some parts were passed unseen; and the impediments to his 
progress at length caused the examination to be quitted, in favour of 
prosecuting the main design of his voyage. The last land seen was 
Termination Island, in latitude 34 3s' and longitude i»«° 8'. The 
coast to the north of this island appeared much broken ; but, 
although in Nuyts' chart a considerable group of islands were laid 
down in about that situation, captain Vancouver rather supposed it 
to be a continued main land.* 

So far as this examination extended, the general form of the coast 
was found to correspond with that of the old chart ; nor was any 
material error found in Nuyts' latitude. A further, and more 
extended confirmation of the Dutch navigator's discovery, and of its 
having been well laid down, considering the period at which it was 
done, was obtained in the following year. 

D'Entrb- The French rear-admiral Bruny D'Entrecasteaux, having been 

€A i79«y X ' sent out wft* 1 *h e S ^P S L* Recherche and L'Espfrance in search of 
the unfortunate La Perouse, made the south coast of New Holland 

* For captain Vancouver's account of bis proceedings and observations on the South 
Coast, see bis Voyage round the fTorld, Vol. I. page 28-57* 

Digitized by 


South Coa$t.] INTRODUCTION. lxxi 

on Dec. 5, 1792, about twenty-eight leagues to the north-west of dentrb- 
Cape Chatham.* The coast, from the South-west Cape to the longi- CA8 1 5^ X# 
tude of Termination Island, was explored by the admiral, with all 
the minuteness that the state of the weather could permit ; and he 
was, generally, able to keep the shore closer abord than captain 
Vancouver had done, and to supply the deficiencies in his chart. The 
broken land to the north of Termination Island was found to .be 
conformable to what Nuyts had laid down : it made part of a very 
extensive group of islands, one of which afforded timely shelter to 
the French ships on Dec. 9, from a gale which had arisen at south- 

They remained a week at this anchorage, whilst the naturalists 
explored the surrounding country, and the surveyors examined such 
of the islands as were visible from the ships. Seals, pinguins, and 
some kanguroos were seen ; but no fresh water, accessible to ship- 
ping, could any where be found ; the country within their reach 
being sandy and sterile. From Dec. 17 to 24, the ships were oc- 
cupied in coasting eastward, along the outskirt of the group of 
islands, and then found it to terminate at 2 " of longitude from its 
commencement. The main land at the back of the islands had been 
generally visible, but at too great a distance for the precise form of 
the coast to be ascertained, or to allow of fixing the positions of, or 
even seeing, many of the inner islands and reefs. 

This group is the first of the two marked upon the chart of Nuyts ; 
and admiral D'Entrecasteaux praises the general accuracy of the 
Dutch navigator, in that " the latitude of Point Leeuwin, and pf 
" the coast of Nuyts' Land, were laid down with an exactness, sur- 
" prising for the remote period in which they had been discovered." 
This liberal acknowledgment renders it the more extraordinary, 

* When the Investigator sailed, the journal of M. Labillardibre* naturalist in D'Entre- 
casteaux's expedition, was the sole account of the voyage made public : but M. db Rossei 
one of the principal officers, has si^ce published the voyage from the journals of the rear* 
admiral, and it is from this last that what follows is extracted. 

Digitized by 


ham INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

D'Ewtbb- that in die appellation which it was judged proper to give to this 
^l^ 1, extensive group, the French admiral had not rather thought of doing 
honour to the- original discoverer, or to the Guide Zeepaard, than to 
his own ship ; more especially, as his examination was far from being 
complete. This would have been more conformable to his general 
practice; but Archipel de la Recherche was the name adopted. 

Beyond the archipelago, the South Coast was found to trend 
east-north-eastward ; without any island lying off it, or presenting 
any place of shelter. The shore was either a steep calcareous cliff, 
of an equal height, or low and sandy, with a few naked hillocks 
behind ; and above these, no hill, nor any thing of the interior 
country, could be discerned. " It is not surprising," says D'Entre- 
casteaux, " that Nuyts has given no details of this barren coast; for 
" its aspect is so uniform, that the most fruitful imagination could 
" find nothing to say of it" 
1793. Frustrated in his expectation of procuring fresh water, and having 

no more than sufficient, at a short allowance, to reach Van Diemen's 
Land, the admiral abandoned the investigation of the South Coast, 
on Jan. 3; being then in latitude 31° 40' south, and longitude 
1 3 1# 383. east of Greenwich. . 

In the otherwise excellent charts constructed by M. Beautemps- 
Beaupre, geographical engineer on board La Recherche, there is 
an extraordinary omission, arising either from the geographer, or 
die. conductor a§ the voyage. In the first i*° of longitude no sound- 
ings are marked along the coast; whilst, in the last 5 , they are 
marked with tolerable regularity : the cause of this difference is 
not explained. 

In comparing the French chart with that of Nuyts, it appeared 
that the rear-admiral had not proceeded so far along this coast as 
the Dutch navigator had done ; for he did not see the islands of St. 
Francis and St. Peter, nor the reef marked about thirty leagues to 
the west of them. The point, however, where D'Entrecasteaux's 
examination terminated, was, in all probability, within a few leagues 

Digitized by 


South Coast.] INTRODUCTION. Ixxiii 

of that reef ; and the end of Nuyts' discovery would be between 133* D'Entu- 
and 134, to the east of Greenwich. "itw!*" 

The South Coast was not known, in 1801, to have been visited Conclusive 
by any other than the three navigators, Nuyts, Vancouver, and 
jyEntrecasteaux* The coast line, from Cape Leeuwin to near the 
longitude of 139°, was generally so well ascertained, and the charts - 
of Vancouver and D'Entrecasteaux appeared to be so good, that little 
remained in this space for future visitors to discover. At two places, 
the country and productions near the sea-side had also been examined; 
though no communication had any where been obtained with the in- 
habitants. It was known also from Nuyts, that at 133° or 134° of east 
longitude, commenced a second archipelago; and that the coast 
began there to assume an irregular form ; but in what direction it 
trended, whether to thesouth-eastward for Bass' Strait, or northward 
for the Gulph of Carpentaria, was altogether uncertain. 

The great point, then, which required to be ascertained, was the 
form of the land from longitude 133 to 146* east, and from south 
latitude 32 to 38^° ; comprising a space of two hundred and fifty 
leagues in a straight line. What rendered a knowledge of this part 
more particularly interesting, was the circumstance of no consider- 
able river having been found on any of the coasts of Terra Australia 
previously explored : but it was scarcely credible that, if this vast 
country were one connected mass of land, it should not contain some 
large rivers ; and if any, this unknown part was one of two remaining 
places, where they were expected to discharge themselves into the sea. 

The apparent want of rivers had induced some persons to think, 
that Terra Australis might be composed of two or more islands, as 
had formerly been suspected by the Dutch, and by Dam pier ; whilst 
others, believing in the continuity of the shores, thought this want 
might arise from the interior being principally occupied by a medi- 

• It afterwards appeared, that lieutenant James Grant had discovered a part of it in 
1800, in his way to Port Jackson with His Majesty's brig Lady Nelson. , 
VOL. I. L 

Digitized by 


lxxiv INTRODUCTION. {Ptwt Discoveries. 

Conclusive terranean sea ; but it was generally agreed, that one end of the se- 
# paratdng channels, or otherwise the entrance, if such existed, into 
the supposed sea, would most likely be found in this unexplored part 
of the South Coast. 

Besides the solution of this important geographical problem, some- 
. thing remained to be done upon the parts already seen. The main 
land behind the first archipelago, as also the inner islands, were yet 
to be examined for harbours, where refreshment for ships might be 
obtained; a comparison of the persons and usages of the inhabitants, 
with those in other parts of this vast country, was desirable; and, 
although little utility could be drawn from the known productions at 
the two points visited, it might reasonably be hoped, that an investi- 
gation of a coast so extensive, would not fail to produce much use- 
ful information. 

Many circumstances, indeed, united to render the south coast of 
Terra Australis one of the most interesting parts of the globe, to 
which discovery could be directed at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. Its investigation had formed a part of the instructions to 
the unfortunate French navigator La PSrouse, and afterwards of those 
to his countryman D'Entrecasteaux ; and it was, not without some 
reason, attributed to England as a reproach, that an imaginary line 
of more than two hundred and fifty leagues extent, in the vicinity of 
one of her colonies, should have been so long suffered to remain 
traced upon the charts, under the title of Unknown Coast. This 
comported ill with her reputation as the first of maritime powers ; 
and to do it away was, accordingly, a leading point in the instructions 
given to the Investigator. 


C Ixxv } 





Preliminary Observations. Discoveries qfTasman; of Cook; Marion; 
andFurneaux. Observations of Cook; Bligh; and Cox. Discovery of 
jyEntrecasteaux. Hayes. 

Van Diemen's Land would more properly have been arranged Preliminary 

r r J *> Observation! 

under the head of the South Coast ; but the later discoveries here 
have so intimate a connexion with those on the East, as to render it 
impossible to separate them without making repetitions, and losing 
perspicuity in the narrative. 

The anxiety of the Dutch government at Batavia, to know how 
far the South Lands might extend towards the antarctic circle, was 
the cause of Tasman being sent with two vessels, to ascertain this 
point ; and the discovery of Van Diemen's Land was one of the 
results. It was not^ however, the policy of the Dutch government 
to make discoveries for the benefit of general knowledge ; and ac- 
cordingly this voyage " was never," says Dr. Campbell, " published 
" intire; and it is probable, that the East-India Company never 
" intended it should be published at all. However, Dirk Rmbrantz, 
" moved by the excellency and accuracy of the work, published in 
" Low Dutch an extract of captain Tasman's journal, which has 

Digitized by 


lxxvi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Preliminary " ever since been considered as a great curiosity ; and as such, has 

Observations . . , 

" been translated into many languages/'* 

If a judgment may be formed from the translations, Rembrantz 
must have omitted great part of the nautical details concerning Van 
Diemen's Land, a defect which is remedied in the following account. 
It is taken from a journal containing, besides the daily transactions 
and observations throughout the whole voyage, a series of thirty- 
eight manuscript charts, views, and figures. The expression by me, 
which often occurs in it, and followed by the signature Abel Jansz 
Tasman, shews that if this were not his original journal, it is a copy 
from it : probably one made on board for the governor and council 
of Batavia. With this interesting document, and a translation made 
in 1776, by Mr. C. G. Woide, chaplain of His Majesty's Dutch 
chapel at St. James's, I was favoured by the Right Hon. Sir Joseph 


Tasman. Captain Abel Jansz Tasman sailed from Batavia on Aug. 14, 

164*, with the yacht Heemskerk and fly-boat Zeehaan ; and, after 

touching at Mauritius, steered south and eastward upon discovery. 

Nov. 94, at four^. m., high land was seen in the E. by N., supposed 

pi^vii t0 ^ * stant ^ ort y m ^ es - The ships steered towards it till the evening ; 

9 when there were high mountains visible in the E. S. E., and two 

smaller ones in the N. E. They sounded in 100 fathoms, and then 

stood off from the land, with the wind at south-east. 

In the morning of Nov. 25., it was calm ; but on a breeze spring- 

* Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, originally published by John Harris, 
D. JO. and F. H. S. London, 1744. Vol. I. page 335. 

f I am proud to take this opportunity of publicly expressing my obligations to the 
Right Hon. President of the Royal Society ; and of thus adding my voice to the many 
who, in the pursuit of science, have found in him a friend and patron. Sueh he proved 
in the commencement of my voyage, and in the whole course of its duration 5 in the dis- 
tresses which tyranny heaped upon those of accident 5 and after they were overcome. His 
extensive and valuable library has been laid open ; and has furnished much that no time 
or expense, within my reach, could otherwise have procured. 

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East Coast, Sf V.D.'s Land.-] INTRODUCTION. Ixxvii 

ing up from the southward, Tasman steered for the land ; and at Tasman, 
five^. m.y when it was twelve miles distant, sounded in 60 fathoms, 
coral bottom : at four miles off, the bottom was fine white sand. 
The latitude was then 42* 30' south ; the mean of all their longitudes 
163° 50' east (of Teneriffe apparently); and the compass had no 
variation. The coast here lies S. by E. and N. by W. It is of an 
even height ; and was named Antony Van Diemen's Land, in 
honour of the governor-general, " our master, who sent us out to 
" make discoveries. The islands round about, as many of them as 
" were known to us, we called in honour of the Council of India/* 

The ships stood off again for the night, with a light breeze at 
S. S. E. On the 26th, the wind was from the eastward, and wea- 
ther rainy, so that no land could be seen ; but its distance was 
supposed to be twelve or thirteen leagues. At noon, the latitude 
from dead reckoning was 43 36', and longitude 163° a' ; the course 
having been S. S. W. 72 miles.* In the evening the wind shifted 
to the north-east, and their course was directed E. S. E. : the vari- 
ation was then half a degree west. 

Nov. 27, the land was again seen. At noon, a course of S. E. by E. 
52 miles, gave the latitude by estimation 44 4' south, and longitude 
164 a' east. The weather was thick and rainy, and the wind still 
from the north-eastward ; and at the fourth hour of the night, the 
vessels lay to, not venturing to run in the dark. In the morning 
of the 28th, it was foggy, with rain. They made sail to the east; 
but on seeing the land from N. E. to N. N. E., hauled up for it. 
From what could be perceived of the coast, it extended S. E. by 
E. and N. W. by W., and seemed to decrease in height to the east- 
ward. At noon, the latitude by estimation was 44° 1', longitude 
165 2' ; and the course steered, E. by S. 44 miles. The wind was 

* This and the following courses and distances run from one noon to another, do not 
always agree with the latitudes and longitudes ; hut the differences are not great : They 
probably arose from the distances being marked to the nearest Dutch mile on the log 
board; whereas the latitude and longitude are taken to minutes of a degree. 

Digitized by 






[Prior Discoveries. 

then at north-west ; and in the evening, they came near three small 
islands, one of which was shaped like a lion's head, and lies twelve 
miles from the continent (this was the Mewstone, of Furneaux). 
The wind was from the eastward in the night, and the ships lay to. 

Nov. *9, they were still near the cliffy, lion-head-shaped island. 
The wind was light and fair, and they steered parallel to the coast, 
which lies here east and west. At noon, having made a course of 
E. N. E. 48 miles, the latitude was judged to be 43° 53', longitude 
166° 3'. They had, a little before, passed two cliffy islets lying to 
seaward ; of which the westernmost ( Swilly of Furneaux ) is like 
Pedra Blanca near the coast of China : the easternmost ( Eddy stone 
of Cook) resembles an awkward tower, and is about sixteen miles 
from the main land. Continuing to coast along the shore, they 
came, at five in the evening, to a bay, into which it was resolved 
in council to enter ; but when almost in it, a high wind rose, and 
obliged them to shorten sail and stand out to sea. At daylight of the 
30th, they found themselves driven so far off by the storm (whence 
the name of Storm Bay, applied in the chart), that the land was 
scarcely visible. At noon, the general course had been E. by N. 
80 miles ; the latitude was found to be 43° 41', and longitude by 
estimation ( corrected ) 168 3' : the needle pointed here, true North. 
The land was in sight to the north-west, and the wind strong, but 
variable, from the northward. The ships steered westward for a 
short time; but the weather being too stormy to admit of approach* 
ing the land, they went upon the other tack ; and kept as much to 
the northward, under easy sail, as the wind would permit. 

Dec. 1 , the wind was more moderate ; and on its veering to 
W. S. W., the ships steered towards the shore. At noon, their 
course made good was N.N. W. 3* miles ; the latitude was 43 10* 
and longitude 167 55'. It then fell calm, and a council of officers 
from the two vessels was called, in which it was resolved, if wind 
and weather permitted, " to get a knowledge of the land, and some 
" refreshments." An eastern breeze sprung up soon afterward ; 

Digitized by 


East Coast, 8; V. D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. Ixxix 

and they got to anchor, an hour after sunset, " in a good port, in Tasma*. 
"22 fathoms, whitish good-holding sand ; wherefore we ought to 1642# 
" praise God Almighty/' This port is called Frederik Hendruc'i 
Bay, in the chart. 

Next morning early, two armed boats were sent to an inlet (the 
inner bay), situate four or five miles to the north-westward of th? 
ships, in order to search for fresh water, wood, and refreshments. 
They returned in the afternoon, and the officers gave the following 

They rowed four or five* miles round the point of the inlet, 
along a high and level shore. Wild greens were plentiful ; some 
resembled those at the Cape of Good Hope, " and may be used 
" in place of wormwood ;" others were long and saltish, and like 
sea parsley. They found many dry gullies, and one watering place 
in which the water was good, but obtained with difficulty, and in 
very small quantities. Some human voices were heard, and a sound 
like that of a trumpet, or little gong, which was not far off; but 
they could see no person. Amongst the trees, two were remarked 
whose thickness was two, or two and a half fathoms, and the first 
branches from sixty to sixty-five feet above the ground. The bark 
had been taken off with a flint stone, and steps were cut, full five feet 
one from the other; whence the natives were presumed to be very 
tall, or able to get up these trees by some artifice. They supposed the , 
steps to be made for the purpose of getting at the nests of 
birds ; and that some of them had not been cut above four days 
before. They observed traces on the ground, as if made by the 
claws of a tiger; and saw the excrements, as was thought, of 
quadrupeds. Some well-looking gums, which dropped from the 
trees and somewhat resembled gum*lac 9 were brought on board. 

Off the east point of the (inner) bay, they found thirteen to four- 
teen feet water ; and that the tide flowed about three feet. They 
there saw a number of men, of wild ducks, and geese ; but inland 

Digitized by 


Ixxx INTRODUCTION. [Ptior Discoveries. 

Tasman. none were seen, though their noise was heard. Muscles were found 
sticking to bushes, in different places. The country was covered 
with trees ; but so thinly scattered, that one might see every where 
to a great distance amongst them, and distinguish men and animals. 
Several of the trees were " much burnt about the foot ; and the 
" ground was here and there like little squares (vuysterchtn), and 
" become as hard as stone, by fire/' 

A short time before the boats returned, a thick smoke had been 
observed upon the continent, to the west of where the ships lay at 
anchor; and from the people staying so much longer than they had 
been ordered, it was thought to have been made by them, as a signal. 
But on inquiry, they answered in the negative ; and said that they, 
also, had seen smoke in several places; and bushes — (here seems 
to be a line omitted. ) "So that without doubt, here must be ex- 
" ceedingly tall people." 

Dec. 3. A boat was sent to the south-east part oPthe (outer) bay, 
and found fresh water ; but it broke through the low shore to the 
sea, and was brackish ; and the soil was too rocky to dig wells. In 
the afternoon, commodore Tasman went, with several officers from 
both yessels in two boats, to the south-east extremity of the bay; 
taking with them the Prince's flag, and a post upon which was cut 
a compass, to be erected on shore. One of the boats was obliged to 
return, from the bad weather ; but the shallop went to a little cove 
W. S. W. of the ships. The surf being there too high to admit of 
landing, the first carpenter, Pieter Jacobs z, swam on shore with the 
post and Prince's flag ; and Set it up near the last of four remark- 
able trees, which stood in the form of a crescent, in the middle of the 
cove. " When the first carpenter had done this, in the sight of me 
" Abel J. Tasman, of the master Gerrit Jansz, and under-merchant 
" Abraham Coomans, we went with the shallop as near as possible 
" to the shore, and the said carpenter swam back, through the surf. 
** We then returned on board; and left this as a memorial to the 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $V.D:$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. lxxxi 

u posterity of the inhabitants of this country. They did not shew Tasman. 
€ f themselves ; but we suspected some to be not far from thence, IU * 
fc watching carefully our doings." 

The wind was from the northward all this day ; and at sunset, it 
blew a storm. The variation at anchor was observed to be 3 east ; 
the latitude was 43 south, and longitude j 67^° east ( from Teneriffe. ) 

Dec. 4. The wind was more moderate, and came from the west- 
ward, off the land. The anchors were then weighed, but the flukes 
of one were broken. On quitting Frederik Hendrik's Bay, the 
ships steered northward as much as possible, to look for a watering 
place. At noon, the course had been N. E. g« miles; the latitude 
was 42 40', and longitude 168 . In the evening, they saw a round 
mountain, about eleven leagues to the N. N. W. ; and during the 
whole day, several smokes were visible along the coast. " Here," 
says Tasman, " I should give a description of the extent of the 
"coast, and the islands near it, but I hope to be excused,* and refer, 
V for brevity's sake, to the chart made of it, and herewith joined/' 

The ships kept close to the wind all night, as they did in the 
morning of Dec. 5, when it was N. W. by W. The high round 
mountain was then seen bearing west, eight leagues, and this was 
the furthest land visible, nor did the wind allow them to come in 
with it again. At nopn, the latitude was judged to be 41 34', and 
longitude x6g°i the course for the last day having been N. E. by N. 
80 miles. Tasman then steered " precisely eastward, to make fur- 
" ther discoveries," agreeably to a resolution of the council, taken 
in the morning. 

The copy of Tasman's charts, given in the Atlas, Plate III. 
of D'Entrecasteaux's Voyage, and taken from Valentyn, is con- 
formable to the manuscript charts in the Dutch journal. There is, 
however, an error of one degree too much east, in the scale of 
longitude; and Pedra Blanca is erroneously written against the 
Eddystone, in the general chart. In the plan of Frederik Hendrik's 
Bay, the name is placed xyithin the inner bay, instead of being 

vol. 1, M 

Digitized by 


bxxfi INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

Tasha*. written, as in the original, on the point of land between the inner 
and outer bays: I conceive the name was intended to comprise 

Cook. More than a century had elapsed after this celebrated voyage of 
Tasman, and the eastern limit of Terra Australis remained still 
unknown. But the British nation was then taking the lead in dis- 
covery ; and the new and liberal principles upon which His Majesty, 
George III. ordered it to be prosecuted, was a sure indication that 
so considerable a part of the globe would not long escape attention. 
Captain James Cook, accompanied by Mr. Green, was sent in the 
Endeavour to observe, at Taheity, the transit of Venus over the sun's 
disk ; and after accomplishing that object, and making a survey of 
New Zealand, he continued his course westward, in order to explore 
the east side of the Terra Australis Incognita. 
(Atias,PLi.) In the morning of April 19, 1770, the land was seen bearing from 
nor^h-east to west ; the furthest part, in the latter direction, being 
judged to lie in 38 south, and 148° 53' east. But captain Cook 
could not determine whether it did, or did not, join to Tasman's 
Van Diemen's Land. 

It would be superfluous, here, to. follow our great navigator in his 
discoveries along the coast, northward to Botany Bay and from 
thence to Cape Tork. Such an abstract as suits the plan of this 
Introduction would be little satisfactory to the reader; when, by 
an easy reference to the original narrative, so much interesting 
information upon this new country, its productions, and inhabitants, 
may be obtained.* 

This voyage of captain Cook, whether considered in the extent of 
his discoveries and the accuracy with which they were traced, or in 
the labours of, his scientific associates, far surpassed all that had 

* In Vol. III. just published, of captain Barney's History of Discoveries in the South 
Sea, a copy is given of Tasman's charts, as they stand in the original, 
t Hawkesworth's Pin/ages, Vol. Ill* page 77> et seq. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $ V. D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. 

gone before. The general plan of the voyage did not, however, 
permit captain Cook to enter minutely into the details of every part; 
and had it been otherwise, the very extent of his discoveries would 
have rendered it impossible. Thus, some portions of the east coast 
of Terra Australis were passed in the night, many openings were 
seen and left unexamined, and the islands and reefs lying at a 
distance from the shore could, generally, be no more than indicated: 
he reaped the harvest of discovery, but the gleanings of the field 
remained to be gathered. 



The first visitor to Van Diemen's Land, after Tasman, its dis- 
coverer, was captain Marion. He commanded the Mascarin and 
Marquis de Castries, from the Isle Mauritius ; and one of the objects 
of his expedition, was the discovery of the supposed SoufHERN 
Continent. This voyage possesses a considerable degree of in- 
terest, and was published at Paris in 1783; but not being generally 
known in England, the parts which relate to Van Diemen's Land, 
are here given in abridgment. 

March 3, 1772, M. Marion made the west side, in latitude 
42° 56'* half a degree south of Tasman's first land fall ; and behind 
a point in 43 15', he saw an opening leading to the northward, but 
of which no particular mention is made. Steering eastward, round 
all the rocks and islets lying off the south coast, he arrived, on the 
evening of the 4th, in Frederik Hendrik's Bay; and anchored in 2* 
fathoms, sandy bottom. The great sandy cove of the outer bay 
bore from thence, S. 25 W. one leagite and a half; the extreme of 
Maria's Island, N. E. by N. ; and the northernmost part of the main 
land, N. g W. six leagues : (these bearings appear to be as taken by 
the compass). The latitude observed here, was 4s 50' south, and 
longitude 145* 20' east of Greenwich ; the first being io', and the 
longitude above 5* less, than given by Tasman.* 

The fires and smokes, seen by day and night, bespoke the country 

* According to captain Cook, the longitude should be 148* iff. 



Digitized by 


lxxxir INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Mahoh. to be well inhabited; and, on anchoring, there were about thirty 
7 * men assembled upon the shore. On the boats being sent next 
morning, the natives went to them without distrust; and, having 
piled together some pieces of wood, presented a lighted stick to the 
new comers, and seemed to ask them to set fire to the pile. Not 
knowing what this ceremony meant, they complied; and the act 
seemed neither to excite surprise, nor to cause any alteration in the 
conduct of the natives : they continued to remain about the French 
party, with their wives and children, as before. 

These people were of the common stature, of a black colour, and 
were all naked, both men and women ; and some of the latter had 
children fastened to their backs, with ropes made of rushes. All 
the men were armed with pointed sticks (spears), and with stones 
which appeared to have been sharpened in the manner of axe heads. 
They had, in general, small eyes, and the white duller than in 
Europeans ; the mouth very wide, the teeth white, and flat noses. 
Their hair, which resembled the wool of the Caffres, was separated 
into shreds, and powdered with red ochre. They were generally 
slender, tolerably well made, kept their shoulders back, and upon 
their prominent chests, several had marks raised in the skin. Their 
language appeared harsh ; the words seeming to be drawn from the 
bottom of the throat. 

The French tried to win them by little presents, but they rejected 
with disdain every thing that was offered ; even iron , looking-glasses, 
handkerchiefs, and cloth. They were shown ducks and fowls, 
which had been carried froiH the ships ; and it was endeavoured to 
make them understand, that such would be gladly purchased of 
them ; but they took these animals, with which they seemed to be 
unacquainted, and threw them away in anger. 

The party had been about an hour with the savages when captain 
Marion went on shore. One of the natives stepped forward, and 
offered him a fire-brand to be applied to a small heap of wood ; and 
the captain, supposing it was a ceremony necessary to prove that he 

Digitized by 


East Coa*t,$V.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. lxxxv 

came with friendly intentions, set fire to the heap without hesitation. Mario*. 
This was no sooner done, than they retired precipitately to a small 
hill, and threw a shower of stones, by which captain Marion and the 
commander of the Castries were both wounded. Some shots were 
then fired ; and the French, returning to their boats, coasted along 
the beach to an open place in the middle of the bay, where there 
was no hill or eminence from whence they could be annoyed. The 
savages sent their women and children into the woods, and followed 
the boats along shore ; and on their putting in to land, one of the 
natives set up a hideous cry, and immediately a shower of spears 
Was discharged. A black servant was hurt in the leg ; and a firing 
then commenced, by which several of the natives were wounded, and 
one killed. They fled to the woods, making a frightful howling, 
but carried off such of the wounded as were unable to follow. Fif- 
teen men, armed with muskets, pursued them ; and on entering 
amongst the trees, they found a dying savage. This man was a 
little more than five feet seven inches high ; his breast was marked 
like those of the Mozambique Caffres, and his skin appeared as black ; 
but on washing off the soot and dirt, his natural colour appeared to 
be reddish. The spears, which it was feared might have been poi- 
soned, were proved not to be so by the facility with which the wound 
of the black servant was healed. 

After the flight of the savages, captain Marion sent two officers 
with detachments, to search for water, and for trees proper to make 
a foremast and bowsprit for the Castries ; but after traversing two 
leagues of country without meeting a single inhabitant, they returned 
unsuccessful in both pursuits ; nor could any fresh water be found 
during the six days which the ships remained in Frederik Hen- 
drik's Bay. 

The land here is quite sandy, but covered with brush-wood, and 
with small trees which the savages had mostly stripped of the bark 
for cooking their shell fish. The greater part of the trees were 
burnt at the foot ; but amongst them there w^ a kind of pine, less 

« > 

Digitized by 


tavi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Mahiow. than ours, which was perfectly preserved; apparently from the 
natives finding them to be of use in some way or other.* 

There were marks of fire almost every where ; and in many places 
the earth was covered with ashes. Where it was not burnt, there 
was plenty of grass, ferns like those of Europe, sorrel, and alleluia. 
From the few animals seen, it was thought that the fires made by the 
natives near the coast, drove them inland. The shooters met with a 
tiger cat, and saw many holes in the ground, like those of a warren. 
They killed crows, blackbirds, thrushes, doves, a white-bellied pa- 
roquet whose plumage resembled that of the same bird at the River 
Amazons, and several kinds of sea birds, principally pelicans, and 
the black-bodied red bill. 

The climate was cold, although in the end of summer ; and it ex- 
cited surprise, that the savages could go naked ; the more so, as the 
nearest approach to houses consisted of branches of trees, set up 
behind the fire places to break off the wind. The many heaps of 
shells seemed to bespeak, that the usual food of these people was 
muscles and other shell fish. 

Many large rays were caught by the French, as also sea cats, old 
wives, and several other fish whose names were not known. They 
found also plenty of cray-fish, lobsters, very large crabs, and good 
oysters ; and the curious picked up sea stars, sea eggs 9 and a variety 
of finfe and rare shells. 

Finding he was only losing time in searching for water in this 
wild country, captain Marion determined to make sail for New Zea- 
land, where he hoped to succeed better, and also to obtain masts for 
the Castries. He accordingly left Van Diemen's Land on the 10th 
of March; and the account of it concludes with the observation, that 
they had very bad weather on the west coast, but on the east side 
the sky was much clearer and winds more moderate. 

The chart of Mons. Crozet, which accompanies the voyage, appears, 
though on a very small scale, to possess a considerable degree of 

• It is more probable, that these trees are able to resist the fire better than the others. 

Digitized by 


East Coa$t,$V.t>:s Land.] INTRODUCTION. kxxvii 

exactness in the form of the land. The wide opening, called Storm Marion. 
Bay, is distinctly marked ; as is another bay to the westward, with 177S * 
several small islands in it, the easternmost of which are the BoreeVs 
Eylanden of Tasman. 

A year after Marion had quitted Frederik Hendrik's Bay, Van Ftonimjx. 
Diemen's Land was visited by captain Tobias Furneaux, in His 
Majesty's ship Adventure. He made the South-west Cape on March 9, 
and steered eastward, close to the islands and rocks called Maat-* 
suyker's, by Tasman ; and behind which lay a bold shore, which 
seemed to afford several anchoring places. Some of these rocks 
resembled, says captain Furneaux, " the Mewstone, particularly one 
" which we so named, about four or five leagues E. S. E. £ E. off 
f< the above cape, which Tasman has not mentioned, or laid down in 
" his draughts."* This is nevertheless the lion-head-shaped island, - 
particularly mentioned by Tasman, as lying twelve miles out from 
the coast : the mistake arose from the imperfection of the accounts. 

After passing Maatsuyker's Isles, captain Furneaux sent a boat to 
the main land, on the 10th, and the people found places where the 
natives had been, and where pearl scallop shells were scattered 
about. <f The soil seemed to be very rich ; the country well clothed 
" with wood, particularly on the lee sides of the hills ; plenty of 
" water which falls from the rocks in beautiful cascades, for two or 
" three hundred feet perpendicular, into the sea ; but they did not 
" see the least sign of any place to anchor in with safety/' 

On the return of the boat, captain Furneaux made, sail, and came 
to " the westernmost point of a very deep bay, called by Tasman 
" Stormy Bay. From the west to the east point of this bay there 
" are several small islands, and black rocks which we called the 
" Friars." From the Friars he followed the coast N. by E* four 
leagues, and the same evening anchored in Adventure Bay. " We 
* first took this bay/' says the captain, " to be that which Tasman 

* Cook's Second Voyage, Vol. I. p. 109. 

Digitized by 


lxxxviii INTRODUCTION. (Prior Discoveries. 

Fuinbaux. "called Frederick Henry Bay; but afterwards found that his is laid 


" down five leagues to the northward/' 

Captain Furneaux here mistook the Storm and Frederik Hendrik's 
Bays of Tasman ; and he has been followed in this error by all the 
succeeding navigators of the same nation, which has created not a 
little cohfusion in the geography of this part of the world. 

The bay supposed to have been Storm Bay, has no name in 
Tasman's chart ; though the particular plan shews that he noticed 
it, as did Marion more distinctly. The rocks marked at the east 
point of this bay, and called the Friars, are the Bowel's Eylanden of 
Tasman ; and the true Storm Bay is the deep inlet, of which Adven- 
ture Bay is a cove. Frederik Hendrik's Bay is not within this inlet, 
but lies to the north-eastward, on the outer side of the land which 
captain Furneaux, in consequence of his first mistake, took to be 
Maria's Island, but which, in fact, is a part of the main land. All 
this is evident from a close comparison of the forms of the land in 
the two charts, and is corroborated by the differences of longitude 
from the Mewstone, 

Adventure Bay proved to be a valuable discovery, being a good 
and well-sheltered anchorage, where wood and water were abundant, 
and procurable without much difficulty. The country was found to 
be pleasant ; the soil black and rich, though not deep ; the sides of 
the hills covered with large trees of the evergreen kind, growing to 
a great height before they spread out into branches. There were 
several species of land birds ; and the aquatic fowl were ducks, teal, 
and the sheldrake. An opossum was seen, and the excrement of 
another quadruped, judged to be of the deer kind. Sea fish were 
caught, but not in plenty. The lagoons abounded with trout and 
several other sorts of fish. No natives came down to the ships ; but 
their fires were seen at a distance, and several of their miserable huts 
were examined. Not the least mark of canoe or boat was seen, and 
it was generally thought they had none ; " being altogether, from 
fi what we could judge, a very ignorant ajid wretched set of people j 

Digitized by 


£ast Coat, $V.&.$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. lxxxix 

" though natives of a country capable of producing every necessary Furneaux. 
** of life, and a climate the finest in the world. We found not the 
u least sign of any minerals or metals." 

After remaining five days in Adventure Bay, captain Furneaux 
sailed along the coast to the northward, in order to discover whe- 
ther Van Diemen's Land were joined to New South Wales. He 
passed the Maria's, Schouten's, and Vanderlin's Islands of Tasman, 
at some distance ; and then, closing more in with the coast, he found 
the land to be low and even, and of an agreeable aspect, " but no 
" signs of a harbour or bay, where a ship might anchor in safety." 
In latitude 40° 50', the coast, from running nearly north, turned to 
the westward, and, as captain Furneaux thought, formed a deep bay. 
From thence to " 39° 50', is nothing but islands arid shoals ; the 
" land high, rocky, and barren." In the course northward, past these 
islands, he had regular soundings, from 15 to 30 fathoms, though 
no land was visible ; it was, however, seen again (or thought to be 
so) in latitude 39 , and nearly due north from the islands. The 
bottom then becoming uneven, our navigator discontinued his course, 
and steered for New Zealand. 

Whether Van Diemen's Land were, or were not, joined to New 
South Wales, was a question not yet resolved ; but captain Furneaux 
gave it as his opinion, " that there is no strait between New Hoi- 
" land and Van Diemen's Land, but a very deep bay." 

The next visitor to Van Diemen's Land was captain James Cook, Coo*. 
with his Majesty's ships Resolution and Discovery. He made the m7m 
South-west Cape on Jan. 94, 1777, and steered eastward along the 
shore, as captain Furneaux had done, but generally at a greater * 
distance : on the 26th he anchored in Adventure Bay. 

Captain Cook's account of this bay agrees nearly with that of 
Furneaux ; but he there procured abundance of fish, and had fre* 
quent communication with the natives : his description of them coin- 
cides, generally, with what has been recited in Marion's voyage. 

vot. 1. N 

Digitized by 


xc • INTRODUCTION, [Prior D*cw*ne$. 

Cook. The most striking differences betwixt these people and those captain 
1777 ' Cook had seen on the east coast of New South Wales, were in 
their language, in having no canoes, and in the different texture 
of the hair : in those it was " naturally long and black, though it be 
" universally cropped short ;" whilst in Adventure Bay, « it was a* 
" woolly, as that of any native of Guinea/'* In these particulars, as in 
some others, they agreed with Dampier's description of the people 
on the North-west Coast, who were without canoes, and had woolly 

The following articles, to the conclusion of Part I. of this Section, 
are placed somewhat out of their chronological order, for the con- 
venience of classing together all the discoveries which had no con* 
nection with the British settlement in New South Wales. Those 
made in vessels from that settlement, or which may be considered as 
a consequence of its establishment, will compose Part II. in unin- 
terrupted order. 

Blioh. Captain W illi am Bligh put into Adventure Bay with his Majesty's 

1788# ship Bounty in 1788, and with the Providence and Assistant in 1799 ; 

for the purpose of obtaining wood and water. These were procured 

with facility, as also plenty offish ; and many useful seeds and trees 

were planted. 

No discoveries being made here, beyond those of Furneaux and 
Cook, the reader is referred to captain Bligh's Voyage to the South 
Seas, p. 45 to 54, for his observations on the country and inhabitants. 
There is, however, one remarkable circumstance recorded of these 
people, which is, that when presents wrapped up in paper were 
thrown to them, " they took the articles out, and placed them on 
" their heads ;" a ceremony which is similar to that recorded by 
Witsen, of the inhabitants on the east side of the Gulph of 

• See Cook^t TUrd Voyage, Vol. I. p. 93-117. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $V.D'.$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. xci 

The brig Mercury, commanded by John Henhy Cox, Esq., an- cat, 
cbored at the entrance of a deep, bay on the south side of Van lT8 * 
Diemen's Land, on July 3, 1789. This bay was then first discovered, 
and lies N. by W. ten miles from the Mewstone* The country was 
found to be agreeably interspersed with hills and vallies, and some 
of the hills were luxuriantly clothed with trees to their very sumifaits. 
About four miles from the vessel, there was a stream of fresh water; 
and close to it stood a hut, or rather hovel, neatly constructed of 
branches of trees and dried leaves. " Around it were scattered a 
" great quantity of pearl; escaiop, oyster, and other shells, which had 
" been lately roasted." The faeces of some large animal were met 
with in every direction ; but neither the animal itself nor any of the 
natives could be found. 

July 5. A heavy swell from the southward obliged Mr. Cox to 
get under way ; and he worked along shore to the eastward. His 
intention was to put into Adventure Bay ; but being set to the north- 
ward of his reckoning, on the 8th, he discovered, and came to an 
anchor in Oyster Bay, on the inner side of Maria's Island, the 
shelter there being found secure, and wood and water plentiful. This 
bay lies in 42° 42' south, and 148 25' east, and not more than three 
or four leagues to the northward of Tasman's Frederik Hendrik's 
Bay ; though Mr. Cox, following in the error of captain Furneaux, 
seems to have had no idea of this proximity. 

Some communication was obtained with the inhabitants of the 
island; but as nothing in this, or in other respects, was found 
materially different to what was observed by Mons. Marion arid 
captain Cook in the neighbouring bays, it is unnecessary to enter 
into the details. 

The French rear-admiral, Bruny D'Entrecasteaux, made the de*™*- 


coast of Van Diemen's Land with the intention of procuring wood i79 %. ' 

* Observations, 8fc, made during a voyage in the brig Mercury; by Lieut. G. 
Mortimer of the Marines. London, 1791. 

Digitized by 


xoii INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

D'Entre- and water at Adventure Bay ; " but deceived by the forms of 
i79^ X " the coast, which resemble each other, he entered Storm Bay," 
April 20, 1792.* This is not, however, the Storm Bay of Tasman ; 
' but that which was taken for such by captain Furneaux. 

The error was soon detected; but finding shelter and good 
anchoring ground, the admiral determined to remain where he was, 
and to examine the inlet. The result most amply repaid his labour, 
by opening to him the most important discovery which had been 
made in this country from the time of Tasman. Instead of an open 
bay, this inlet was found to be the entrance into a fine navigable 
channel, running more than ten leagues to the northward, and 
there communicating with the true Storm Bay. It contains a series 
of good harbours, or is itself, rather, one continued harbour, from 
beginning to end. 

This new passage obtained the name of Canal de D'Entrecas- 
teaux; and, after passing through it with his ships, the admiral 
steered across Storm Bay, passing to the southward of the land 
which Furneaux and Cook had taken for Maria's Islands. At the 
head of Storm Bay other openings were seen; but the wind from 
the north and the pressure of time, did not allow him to examine 
them at that period. 
itw. On Jan. 21, of the following year, admiral D'Entrecasteaux 
anchored again in one of the ports on the west side of the entrance 
to his newly discovered channel; and after completing the wood 
and water of his two ships, La Recherche and L'Espc'rance, pursued 
his former course up the passage, sending boats to complete the 
surveys of the different harbours on each side. A boat was also 
sent to explore the two openings in the head of Storm Bay. The 
westernmost proved to be a river, up which the boat ascended 
twenty miles to the northward ; and so far it was navigable for ships. 
It was not pursued further; so that the distance, to which this 

• Pin/age de PEntrecasteaux, ridigipar M.deRosset: A Paris 1808. Tomb I. 
p. 48. 

Digitized by 


Ea$tCoa*t,8fV.D:»Land.-\ INTRODUCTION. xciii 

Rivih-e du Nord might penetrate into the country, was uncertain. d-Entr*- 


The eastern opening led northward into a wide, open bay ; and this 179 3. 
into another large expanse of water to the eastward, but which was 
not examined. It was thought, however, that this eastern bay com- 
municated with that of Frederik Hendrik ; and on this supposition 
(which has not proved correct), the land which Furneaux and Cook 
had erroneously thought to be Maria's Island, was named lie <FAbel 

The charts of the bays, ports, and arms of the seb at the south- 
east end of Van Diemen's Land, constructed in this expedition by 
Mons. Beautemps-Beaupre and assistants, appear to combine scien- 
tific accuracy and minuteness of detail, with an uncommon degree 
of neatness in the execution : they contain some of the finest sped* 
mens of marine surveying, perhaps ever made in a new country. 

Admiral D'Entrecasteaux gives a very favourable account of the 
disposition pf the native inhabitants on the shores of the channel ; 
and he had frequent communications with them. In person and 
manner of living, they agree with those described by Marion and 
Cook ; but the vocabulary of their language is somewhat different ; 
and bark canoes, which preceding navigators had thought them not 
to possfess, were found in the channel. The description of the 
country is, generally, favourable ; though somewhat less so than 
that of captain Cook at Adventure Bay. The climate was thought 
good, though moist ; and the supplies of wood, water, and fish, for 
ships, were abundant; but the preference, in these respects, was ' 
given to Adventure Bay, even by the French admiral. 

Mons. Labillardiere, in his previously published account of D'En- 
trecasteaux's voyage, says, that he found a small vein of coal near 
the South Cape ; and that lime-stone rocks exist on the west-side of 
Adventure Bay. These circumstances are omitted by M. de Rossel ; 
as is also the remark, that although the natives had their teeth 
perfect, in general, yet in some near the bay, one, and sometim6s 
two of the upper front teeth were wanting. The same thing was 

Digitized by 


xdr INTRODUCTION. IPrior Discoveries. 

D'Ekthb- observed by Dampier, of the inhabitants on the north-west coast of 
^1793?* Terra Australis ; and this coincidence, together with their similarity 
of person, particularly in the woolly hair, is sufficiently remarkable 
to induce a belief, that these people, placed at the two extremities 
of this vast country, have yet one common origin ; although the 
intermediate inhabitants of the East Coast differ in some essential 

Hatbs. Captain John Hayes, of the Bombay marine, visited Storm Bay 
and D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, with the private ships Duke and 
Dutchess from India, in 1794. He went much further up the Rivi&re. 
du Nord, than the boat from the French ships had done, and gave 
it the name of the Derwent River. This name is likely to efface 
the first appellation, and with some degree of propriety ; both from 
the superior extent of captain Hayes' examination, and from North 
River being an equivocal term* for a stream at the south end of Van 
Diemen's Land 

That captain Hayes had some intimation of the French discovery 
is evident, but not knowing the distinctive appellations given, he 
took upon himself to impose names every where. Succeeding 
visitors have gone with his sketch in their hands, whilst the charts of 
D'Entrecasteaux were unknown in that part of the world; from 
whence, and still more from those names having now become familiar 
to the settlement established in the Derwent River, it will be difficult, 
if not impossible in many cases, for the original discoverer to be rein- 
stated in his rights. 

The head of the Derwent is the sole part where captain Hayes' 
sketch conveys information, not to be found much more accurately 
delineated in the charts of D'Entrecasteaux. 

Digitized by 






PART n. 

Preliminary Information. Boat Expeditions of Bass and Flinders. 
Clarke. Shortland. Discoveries of Bass to the southward of Port 
Jackson; of Flinders; and of Flinders and Bass. Examinations to 
the northward by Flinders. Conclusive Remarks. , 

The year 1788 will ever be a memorable epoch in the history of preliminary 
Terra Australis. On Jan. 18, captain (now. vice-admiral) Arthur ° rmatl0,L 
Philip arrived in Botany Bay, with His Majesty's brig Supply ; and 
was followed by the Syrius, captain John Hunter, six sail of trans^ 
ports, and three store ships. The purpose of this armament was to 
establish a colony in New South Wales, over which extensive 
country captain Philip was appointed Governor and Captain-general. 
Botany Bay proved to be an unfavourable situation for the new colony ; 
it was, therefore, abandoned in favour of Port Jackson, which lies 
three leagues to the northward, and was found to be ope of the finest 
harbours in the world. 

A history of this establishment at the extremity of the globe, in a 
country where the astonished settler sees nothing, not even the grass 
under his feet, which is not different to whatever had before met his 
eye, could not but present objects of great interest to the European 
reader ; and the public curiosity has been gratified by the perusal 
of various respectable publications, wherein the proceedings of the 

Digitized by 


xovi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Preliminary colonists, the country round Port Jackson, its productions, and native 
inhabitants, are delineated with accuracy, and often with minuteness. 
The subject to be here treated is the progress of maritime geogra- 
phical discovery, which resulted from the new establishment ; and as 
the different expeditions made for this purpose are in many cases im- 
perfectly, and in some altogether unknown, it has been judged that 
a circumstantial account of them would be useful to seamen, and not 
without interest to the general reader. These expeditions are, more- 
over, intimately connected with the Investigator's voyage, of which 
they were, in fact, the leading cause. 
(Atlas, The first advantage to maritime geography which arose from the 
new settlement, was a survey of Botany and Broken Bays and Port 
Jackson, with most of the rivers falling into them. Botany Bay had, 
indeed, been examined by captain Cook ; but of the other two harbours, 
the entrances alone had been seen. This survey, including the inter- 
mediate parts of the coast, was made by captain John Hunter, and 
was published soon after its transmission to England by govenor 

In the beginning of 1795, captain (now vice-admiral) Hunter 
sailed a second time for New South Wales, to succeed captain Philip 
in the government of the new colony. He took with him His Ma- 
jesty's armed vessels Reliance and Supply ; and the author of this 
account, who was then a midshipman and had not long before re- 
turned from a voyage to the South Seas, was led by his passion for 
exploring new countries, to embrace the opportunity of going out 
upon a station which, of all others, presented the most ample field 
for his favourite pursuit. 

On arriving at Port Jackson, in September of the same year, it 
appeared that the investigation of the coast had not been greatly 
extended beyond the three harbours ; and even in these, some of the 
rivers were not altogether explored. Jervis Bay, indicated but not 
named by captain Cook, had been entered by lieutenant Richard 
Bowen ; and to the north, Port Stephens had lately been examined by 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $V.D:$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. xcvii 

Mr C. Grimes, land surveyor of the colony, and by captain Preliminary 
W. R. Broughton of H. M. ship Providence; but the intei^nediate InfQrmati011 - 
portions of coast, both to the north arid south, were little further 
known than from captain Cook's general chart ; and none of the 
more distant openings, marked but not explored by that celebrated 
navigator; had been seen. 

In Mr. George Bass, surgeon of the Reliance, I had the happiness 
to find a man whose ardour for discovery was not to be repressed by 
any obstacles, nor deterred by danger ; and with this friend a deter- 
mination was formed of completing the examination of the east coast 
of New South Wales, by all such opportunities as the duty of the 
ship, and procurable means, could admit. 

Projects of this nature, when originating in the minds of young 
men, are usually termed romantic ; and so far from any good being 
anticipated, even prudence and friendship join in discouraging, if notin 
opposing them. Thus it was in the present case ; so that a little boat Bass and 
of eight feet long, called Tom Thumb, with a crew composed of our- 1795. 
selves and a boy, was the best equipment to be procured for the first 
outset. In the month following the arrival of the ships, we proceeded 
round in this boat, to Botany Bay ; and ascending George's River, 
one of two which falls into the bay, explored its winding course 
about twenty miles beyond where governor Hunter's survey had 
been carried. 

The sketch made of this river and presented to the governor, with 
the favourable report of the land on its borders, induced His Excel- 
lency to examine them himself shortly afterward ; and was followed 
by establishing there a new branch of the colony, under the name of 
Banks 9 Town. 

A voyage to Norfolk Island interrupted our further proceedings, iw. 
until March 1796. Mr. Bass and myself then went again in Tarn 
Thumb, to explore a large river, said to fall into the sea some miles 
to the south of Botany Bay, and of which there was no indiCftfioii in 
captain Cook's chart. 

vo*,. 1. 

Digitized by 


*cviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Ducoveru$. 

Bas$ and We sailed out of Port Jackson early in the morning of March ag 9 
\796. and stood a little offto sea to be ready for the sea breeze. On coming 
in with the land in the evening, instead of being near Cape Solander, 
we found ourselves under the cliffs near Hat Hill, six or seven 
leagues to the southward, whither the boat had been drifted by a 
strong current. Not being able to land, and the sea breeze coming 
in early next morningfrom the northward, we steered for two small 
islets, six or seven miles further on, in order to get shelter; but 
being in want of water, and seeing a place on the way where, though 
the boat could not land, a cask might be obtained by swimming, the 
attempt was made, and Mr. Bass went on shore. Whilst getting off 
the cask, a surf arose further out than usual, carried the boat before 
it to the beach, and left us there with our arms, ammunition, clothes, 
and provisions thoroughly drenched, and partly spoiled. The boat 
was emptied and launched again immediately ; but it was late in the 
afternoon before every thing was rafted off, and we proceeded to 
the islets. It was not possible to land there ; and we went on to two 
larger isles lying near a projecting point of the main, which has four 
hillocks upon it presenting the form of a double saddle, and proved 
to be captain Cook's Red Point. The isles were inaccessible as the 
others ; and it being dark, we were constrained to pass a second 
night in Tom Thumb, and dropped our stone anchor in 7 fathoms, 
under the lee of the point. 

The sea breeze, on the 37th, still opposed our return ; and learning 
from two Indians that no water could be procured at Red Point, we 
. accepted their offer of piloting us to a river which, they said, lay a 
few miles further southward, and where not only fresh water was 
abundant, but also fish and wild ducks. These men were natives of 
Botany Bay, whence it was that we understood a little of their lan- 
guage, whilst that of some others was altogether unintelligible. Their 
river proved to be nothing more than a small stream, which de- 
scended from a lagoon under Hat Hill, and forced a passage for 
itself through the beach ; so that we entered it with difficulty even 

Digitized by 


Edit Coa*f>$V.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. xcix 

in Tom Thumb. Our two conductors then quitted the boat to walk Bass a»d 

, , . - . , . Flindies. 

alon& the sandy shore abreast, with eight or ten strange natives in 1796. 

After rowing a mile up the stream, and finding it to become more 
shallow, we began to entertain doubts of securing a retreat from 
these people, should they be hostilely inclined ; and they had the 
reputation at Port Jackson of being exceedingly ferocious, if not can- 
nibals. Our muskets were not yet freed from rust and sand* and 
there was a pressing necessity to procure fresh water before attempt- 
ing to return northward. Under these embarrassments, we agreed 
upon a plan of action, and went on shore directly to the natives. 
Mr. Bass employed some of them to assist in repairing an oar which 
had been broken in our disaster, whilst I spread thfe wet powder out 
in the sun. This met with no opposition, for they knew not what the 
powder was ; but when we proceeded to clean the muskets, it excited 
so much alarm that it was necessary to desist. On inquiringof the 
two friendly natives for water, they pointed upwards to the lagoon ; 
but after many evasions our barica* was filled at a hole not many 
yards distant. 

The number of people had increased to near twenty, and others 
were still coming, so that it was necesssary to use all possible expe- 
dition in getting out of their reach. But a new employment arose 
upon our hands : we had clipped the hair and beards of the two 4 
Botany-Bay natives at Red Point ; and they were shewing themselves 
to the others, and persuading them to follow their example: Whilst, 
therefore, the powder was drying, I began with a large pair of 
scissars to execute my new office upon the eldest of four or five chins 
presented to me ; and as great nicety was not Required, the shearing 
of a dozen of them did not occupy me long. Some of the more timid 
were alarmed at a formidable instrument coming so near to their 
noses, and would scarcely be persuaded by their shaven friends, to 
allow the operation to be finished. But when their chins were held 

* A small cask, containing six or eight gallons. 

Digitized by 


« INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

Bass and up a second time, tKeir fear of the instrument,— the wild stare of their 

179$**' eyes, — and the smile which they forced, formed a compound upon 

the rough savage countenance, not unworthy the pencil of a Hogarth. 

I was almost tempted to try what effect a little snip would produce; 

but our situation was too critical to admit of such experiments. 

Every thing being prepared for a retreat, the natives became voci- 
ferous for the boat to go up to the lagoon ; and it was not without 
stratagem that we succeeded in getting down to the entrance of the 
stream, where the depth of water placed us out of their reach. 

Our examination of the country was confined, by circumstances, to 
a general view. This part is called Alowrie, by the natives, and is 
very low and sandy near the sides of the rivulet. About four miles 
up it, to the north-west, is the lagoon; and behind, stands a semi- 
circular range of hills, of which the highest is Hat Hill. The water 
in the lagoon was distinctly seen, and appeared to be several miles 
in circumference. The land round it is probably fertile, and the 
slopes of the back hills had certainly that appearance. The natives 
were in nothing, except language, different from those at Port Jack- 
son ; but their dogs, which are of the same specie3, seemed to be more 
numerous and familiar. 

. Soon after dark the sea breeze was succeeded by a calm ; and at 
ten o'clock we rowed out of the rivulet, repassed Red Point, and at 
one in the morning came to an anchor in 5 fathoms, x:lose to the 
northernmost of the two, first rocky islets.* In the afternoon of 
the 28th, we got on shore under the high land to the north of Hat 
Hill, and were able to cook provisions and take some repose without 
disturbance. The sandy beach was our bed ; and after much fatigue, 
and passing three nights of cramp in Tom Thumb, it was to us a 
bed of down. 

* These islets seem to be what are marked as rocks under water in captain Cook's 
chart. In it, also, there are three islets laid down to the south of Red Point, which must 
be meant for the double islet lying directly off it, for there are no others. The cause of 
the point being named red, escaped our notice. 

Digitized by 


Eart Coast, $V.D:s Land.*] INTRODUCTION. ci 

The shore in this part is mostly high and cliffy ; and under the Bass and 
cliffs were lying black lumps, apparently of slaty stone, rounded by 17 £e* ' 
attrition. These were not particularly noticed, but Mr. Clarke, in his 
disastrous journey along the coast, afterwards made fires of them ; 
and on a subsequent examination, Mr. Bass found a stratum of coal to 
run through the whole of these cliffs. 

March 29. By rowing hard we got four leagues nearer home ; and 
at night dropped our stone under another range of cliffs, more re- 
gular but less high than those near Hat Hill. At ten o'clock, the 
wind, which had been unsettled and driving electric clouds in all 
directions, burst out in a gale at south, and obliged us to get up 
the anchor immediately, and run before it. In a few minutes the 
waves began to break ; and the extreme danger to which this ex- 
posed our little bark, was increased by the darkness of the night, 
and the uncertainty of finding any place of shelter. The shade of 
the cliffs over our heads, and the noise of the surfs breaking at their 
feet, were the directions by which our course was steered parallel 
to the coast. 

Mr. Bass kept the sheet of the sail in his hand, drawing in a few 
inches occasionally, when he saw a particularly heavy sea following. 
I was steering with an oar, and it required the utmost exertion and 
care to prevent broaching to; a single wrong movement, or a 
moment's inattention, would have sent us to the bottom. The task 
of the boy was to bale out the water which, in spite of every care r 
the sea threw in upon us. f 

After running near an hour in this critical manner, some high 
breakers were distinguished a-head; and behind them there ap- 
peared no shade of cliffs. It was necessary to determine, on the 
instant, what was to be done, for our bark could not live ten minutes 
longer. On coming to what appeared to be the extremity of the 
breakers, the boat's head was brought to the wind in a favourable 
moment, the mast and sail taken down, and the oars got out. 
Pulling then towards the reef during the intervals of the heaviest - 
seas, we found it to terminate in a point ; and in three minutes were 

Digitized by 


cii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Ducoveries. 

Bass and in smooth water under its lee- A white appearance, further back, 
L J796, R8 k e Pt us a short time in suspense ; but a nearer approach shewed it 
to be the beach of a well-sheltered cove, in which we anchored for 
the rest of the night. So sudden a change, from extreme danger to 
comparatively perfect safety, excited reflections which kept us some 
time awake: we thought Providential Cove a well-adapted name for 
this place ; but by the natives, as we afterwards learned, it is called 

On landing next morning, March 30, water was found at the back 
of the beach. The country round the cove is, in general, sandy and 
barren. No natives were seen, but their traces were recent. The 
extremity of the reef, which afforded us such signal shelter, bore 
S. E. by E. from the centre of the beach, the north head of the cove 
E. N. E. ; and except at the intermediate five points of the compass, 
Watta-Mowlee affords shelter for large boats, with anchorage on a 
fine sandy bottom. 

Between three and four miles to the northward of this cove, we 
found the river, or rather port, which was the original place of our 
destination ; and it having been a pilot named Hacking, from whom 
the first information of it had lieen received, it was named after him : 
by the natives it is called Deeban. 

April 1st, was employed in the examination of the port. It is 
something more than one mile wide in the entrance ; but soon con- 
tracts to half that space, and becomes shallow^ Neither have the 
three arms, into which if afterwards branches out, any deep channel 
into them ; although, within the second branch, there are from 3 to 
.8 fathoms. Finding there was no part accessible to a ship, beyond 
two miles from the entrance, nor any prospect of increasing our 
small stock of provisions, Port Hacking was quitted early in the 
morning of April 2. 

The shores of the port are mostly rocky, particularly on the north 
side ; but there is no want of grass or wood ; and without doubt 
there are many culturable spots on the sides of the streams which 
descend, apparently from the inland mountains, into the uppermost 

Digitized by 


EoH Coast, Sf V. D:* land.-] INTRODUCTION. cui 

bftratch. Two natives t#me down to us in a friendly manner, and Bass and 

" . Flinders. 

seemed not to be unacquainted with Europeans. Their language 1796. 
differed somewhat from the Port-Jackson dialect; but with the 
assistance of signs, we were able to make ourselves understood. 

After sounding the entrance of Port Hacking in going out, and 
finding $y fathoms water, we steered N. E. by E. for Cape Solander; 
and the same evening Tom Thumb was secured along-side the 
Reliance in Port Jackson. 

In this little expedition, I had no other means of ascertaining the 
situations of places than by pocket-compass bearings and computed 
distances % which was done as follows : 

South lat. East Ion. 
o / o / 

Cliffy south extreme of Cape Solander, lies in 34 2,5 151 12 
From thence to Port Hacking, a low curving 1 

shore, mostly beach, lies S. W. b. W. 6 miles J 

Situation of Port Hacking 34 5,9 151 6 
From Port Hacking to Watta-Mowlee ; low cliffs, s 

but rising gradually to the head of the cove ; [ +3,2 —1,6 miles - - «- J 

Situation of Watta-Mowlee 34 9,1 151 4,4 
Thence to the end of steep cliffs, nearly straight ; 1 

S.S.W. 4 i miles - - - J + 4 ' 2 -*' 1 

To the end of coal cliffs, and commencement ofl 

Hat-Hill beach; mostly a high shore, some-] 

times cliffy, with small beaches at intervals ; f + &' — 2 >4* 

S. by W. 10 miles, - - I 

From thence to Red Point ; a curving sandy 1 
beach with small rocky points ; S. $ E. 61 miles J + 6 ^ + 1 ' 1 

Situation of Red Point 34 29,5 151 i~ 

From Red Pt. to the entrance of Tom Thumb's la- ] 
goon; a low, curving sandy beach; S.W. 5 miles J + 3,5 -4,3 

Situation of the entrance to Tom Thumb's lagoon 34 33,0 - 150 56,7 

Digitized by 


cir INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Claim. After this expedition, the duties of the ship, and a voyage to the 
Cape of Good Hope by the way of Cape Horn, suspended our pro- 
jects for some time. On the return of the Reliance to New South 
Wales, we found there the supra-cargo of the Sydney Cove, a ship 
from India commanded by Mr. G. A. Hamilton, which, having started 
(Atlas, pi. ij a butt end, had been run on shore at Furneaux's Islands and wrecked. 
Mr. Clarke had left the ship, with the qhief mate and others, in the 
long boat, designing for Port Jackson, in order to procure means 
for transporting the officers and people, and such part of the cargo 
as had been saved, to the same place ; but being overtaken by a 
heavy south-east gale, their boat had been thrownr on shore near 
Cape Howe, three-hundred miles from the colony, and stove to 

There was no other prospect of safety for Mr. Clarke and his 
companions, than to reach Port Jackson on foot; and they com- 
menced their march along the sea shore, scantily furnished with 
ammunition, and with less provisions. Various tribes of natives were 
passed, some of whom were friendly ; but the hostility of others, 
and excessive fatigue, daily lessened the number of these unfortunate 
people ; and when the provisions and ammunition failed, the dimi- 
nution became dreadfully rapid. Their last loss was of the chief mate 
and carpenter, who were killed by Dilba, and other savages near 
Hat Hill ;* and Mr. Clarke, with a sailor and one lascar, alone re- 
mained when they reached Watta-Mowlee. They were so exhausted, 
as to have scarcely strength enough to make themselves observed 
by a boat which was fishing off the cove ; but were at length con- 
veyed into her, and brought to Port Jackson. 

Mr. Clarke gave the first information of the coal cliffs, near Hat 
Hill ; and from him it was ascertained, that, besides the known bays, 
many small streams and inlets had interrupted his march along the 
shore, from Cape Howe to Watta-Mowlee ; but that there were 

• This Dilba was one of the two Botany-Bay natives, who had been most strenuous 
for Tom Thumb to go up into the lagoon, which lies under the hill, 

Digitized by 


East Coast, SfV.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. <fr 

none which he had not been able to pass, either at the sea side, or by Claeu. 
going a few miles round, into the country. A journal of his route 
was published in the Calcutta newspapers, some time in 1798. 

The colonial schooner Francis had made one voyage to Furneaux's 
Islands, and brought from thence captain Hamilton, and part of his 
people and cargo. The same vessel was about to proceed thither 
a second time, and I was anxious to embrace that opportunity of 
exploring those extensive and little known lands ; but the great repairs 
required by the Reliance would not allow of my absence. My friend 
' Bass, less confined by his duty, made several excursions, principally 
into the interior parts behind Port Jackson ; with a view to pass over 
the back mountains, and ascertain the nature of the country beyond 
them. His success was not commensurate to the perseverance and 
labour employed : the mountains wer§ impassable ; but the course 
of the river Grose, laid down in Plate VIII,, resulted from one of these 

In September, a small colonial vessel having been carried off by Shortlan*, 
convicts, lieutenant John Shortland, first of the Reliance,* went 
after them to the northward, in an armed boat. The expedition was (Atlas, 


fruitless, as to the proposed object ; but in returning along the shore 
from Port Stephens, Mr. Shortiaod discovered a port in latitude 33°, 
capable of receiving small ships; and what materially added to 
the importance of the discovery, was a stratum of coal, found to 
run through the south head of the port, and also pervaded a cliffy 
island in the entrance. These coals were not only accessible to ship- 
ping, but of a superior quality to those in the cliffs near Hat Hill. 
The port was named after His Excellency governor Hunter ; and 
a settlement, called New Castle, has lately been there established. 
The entrance is narrow, and the deepest water ( about three fathoms ) 

* Afterwards captain of the Junon. He w*s mortally wounded, whilst bravely defend* 
ing his Majesty's frigate against a vastly superior force ; and died at Guadaloupe. 

Digitized by 


cri INTRODUCTION. {Prict Discovert^ 

sirciRTLAND. close to the north-west side of the Coal Island; but no vessel of 


more than three hundred tons should attempt it. 

Bas8 In December, Mr. George Bass obtained leave to make an expe- 

1797* dition to the southward ; and he was furnished with a fine whale 
boat and six weeks provisions by the governor, and a crew of six 
seamen from the ships. - He sailed Dec. 3., in the evening ; but foul 
and strong winds forced him into Port Hacking and Watta^Mowlee. 
On the 5th, in latitude 34° 38', he was obliged to stop in a small 
bight of the coast, a little south of Alworie. The points of land 
there are basaltic ; and on looking round amongst the burnt rocks 
scattered over a hollowed circular space behind the shore, Mr. Bass 
found a hole of twenty-five or thirty feet in diameter; into which 
the sea washed up by a subterraneous passage. 

Dec. 6., he passed a long sloping projection which I have called 
Point Bass, lying about three leagues south of Alowrie. Beyond 
this .point, the coast forms a sandy bay of four or five leagues in 
length, containing two small inlets ; and the southernmost being 
accessible to the boat, Mr. Bass went in and stopped three days. 
This little place was found to deserve no better name than Shoals 
Haven. The entrance is mostly choaked up by sand, and the inner 
part with banks of sand and mud ; there is, however, a small channel 
sufficiently deep for boats. The latitude was made to be 34 5*' 
south ; the sloping Point Bass, to the northward, bore N. ia° E., and 
a steep head at the southern extremity of the bay, S. 35 E. The 
tide was found to rise seven or eight feet, and the time of high 
water to be about eight hours and a half after the moon passed over 
the meridian. 

The great chain of high land, called the Blue Mountains, by which 
the colony at Port Jackson is prevented from extending itself to the 
west, appeared to Mr. Bass to terminate here, near the sea coast. 
The base of this southern extremity of the chain, he judged to 
extend twenty-five or thirty miles, in a south-western direction from 

Digitized by 


East Coast, 8f V. D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cvii 

Point Bass ; after which it turns north-westward. In the direction b**s. 
of west from Shoals Haven, and in all the space to the south of 
that line, was an extensive, flat country, where a party desirous of 
penetrating into the interior might reasonably hope to avoid those 
impediments which, at the back of Port Jackson, have constantly 
proved insurmountable. 

In an excursion from the boat towards the southern end of the 
mountains, Mr. Bass fell in with a considerable stream, which he 
traced down to the shore, about three miles north of Shoals' Haven : 
this is the first inlet of the long bay, which had been observed from 
the sea, with a bar running across the entrance. The soil on the 
southern bank of this stream he compared, for richness, to the banks 
of the Hawkesbury ; and attributes this unusual fertility to the same 
cause : repeated inundations. In fact, die stream has since been 
found to descend from the mountains at twelve or fifteen miles from 
the coast, and to run along their southern extremity to the sea ; so 
that it performs the same office here that the Hawkesbury does 
further north — that of being a channel for the waters which descend 
from the high back land ; but as, ki the heavy rains, it is also une- 
qual to the task, the banks are overflowed, and the low country to 
the south and west is inundated and fertilized. There are, however, 
at the back of Shoals Haven, many thousand acres of open ground, 
whose soil is a rich vegetable mould, and now beyond die reach of 
the floods. 

Dec. 10. The boat left Shoals Haven and entered Jervis Bay, a 
large open place of very unpromising appearance. On the n^rth side 
of the entrance, between Point Perpendicular and Long Nose, there « 
a small cove, where a ship's boat might lie at half tide ; and with 
a hose fill water from the back of the beach, at two pits which 
appeared to be always full. The best anchorage for ships seemed 
to be cm the east side of the bay, between Long Nose and the 
northern beach, though they would not, even there, be entirely 
land-locked. Bowen's Island lies a quarter of a mile from the south 

Digitized by 


cviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discovert*. 

Bass, side of the entrance, but the passage between does not admit any 
thing larger than boats. There is a small beach at the back of the 
island, off which ships might anchor in 8 fathoms sandy bottom, and 
be sheltered as far round as south-east ; but with the wind nearer to 
east they would be exposed. 

The east shore of Jervis Bay runs, for twelve or fifteen miles, so 
near to north from the entrance, that it is not, at the head, more than 
four hundred yards across to the shore of the long outer bay. The 
piece of land, which is thus made a narrow peninsula, is rather high, 
with a face of steep cliffs toward the sea. The rocks on the inner 
side bear strong marks of volcanic fire ; and being disposed in parallel 
layers, their inclination to the west is very evident : quantities of 
pumice stone were scattered along the shores. 

The country round the bay is mostly barren. On the eastern side 
it is rocky, with heath and brush-wood; the west is low, swampy, 
and sandy, with some partial exceptions; but on the south side 
there are grassy spaces amongst the brush-wood which might afford 
pasturage for cattle. 

Jervis Bay was quitted Dec. 13., and at noon the Pigeon House 
bore W. by N. In the evening Mr; Bass stopped in a cove, which 
Point Upright shelters from northern winds ; and he employed the 
next day in looking round the country. The vallies and slopes of the 
hills were found to be generally fertile ; but there being nothing of 
particular interest in this place, it was quitted on the 15th. Some small 
islands lying close under the shore (in Bateman Bay), bore west at 
noon ; and the night was passed at anchor under a point, in latitude 
8/6° 00', where, the wind being foul on the 16th, Mr. Bass laid the 
boat on shore, and proceeded to examine the surrounding country. 

At eight or nine miles from the coast is a ridge of hummocky 
hills, extending to the southward ; but the space between these hills 
and the sea is low, and in great part occupied by salt swamps. The 
sea was found to have an entrance at the back of the point, and to 
form a considerable lagoon, which communicated with the swanjps 

Digitized by 


Eabt Coast, <$• V. D's Land.] INTRODUCTION. ci* 

by means of several branching arms. The soil, as may be supposed, bass.- 
was generally bad, the sloping sides of some of the hills being alone 1T9r * 
capable of any utility. In a round of twelve or fourteen miles Mr. 
Bass could not find a drop of fresh water, or see a native. There 
were, however, many huts, and he traced the paths from them 
down to holes dug in the lowest grounds ; but these were then all 
dried up, and the country in general seemed to be suffering from 

Dec. 17. The wind having veered to N. N. W., the boat was 
launched, and proceeded to the southward. Mount Dromedary was 
passed at eleven ; and an island of about two miles in circuit was 
seen lying off it, a few miles to the eastward : the latitude at noon 
was 36* 23'. At four, the fair breeze died away, and'a strong wind, 
which burst forth from the south, obliged Mr. Bass to run for 
a gap in the land, which had just before been noticed. Here, on a 
little beach at the mouth of an inlet, across which the sea was break- 
ing, the boat was hauled up for the night. Next morning, the inlet 
being free of breakers, he entered the prettiest little model of a har- 
bour he had ever seen. Unfortunately it is but a model ; for although 
the shelter within be complete for small craft, yet the depth over the 
bar is too small, even for boats, except at-high water, when there is 
eight or nine feet. This little place was named Barmouth Creek, and 
lies, according to Mr. Bass' computation, in 36* 47' south. The 
country round, so far as was examined, is rocky and barren near the 
sea ; and towards the head of the creek, it is low and penetrated by 
the salt swamps. 

Dec. 10. At day light Mr. Bass continued his course to the south- (Atlas, 


ward, with a fair breeze. At seven he discovered Two-fold Bay ; 
but unwilling to lose a fair wind, reserved the examination of it for 
his return. At five in the evening the wind came at S. S. W. ; and 
he anchored under the lee of a point, but could not land. A sea 
breeze from E. N. E. next day, enabled him to continue onward; and 
at eleven, he bore away west, round Cape Howe, whose latitude was 

Digitized by 


«/ INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discover**. 

Bamt observed to be 37* 30'. In the evening he landed at the entrance of 
a lagoon, one mile north of the Ram Head, in order to take in as 
much fresh water as possible ; for it was to be feared that a want of 
this necessary article might oblige him to discontinue his pursuit, at 
a time when, from the coast being unexplored, it would become 
more than ever interesting. 

Dec. 21. A gale set in at W. S. W., and continued for nine days 
without intermission. This time was employed in examining the 
country, which, though hilly in external appearance, was found to 
be mostly low, sandy, and wet. The hills have a slight covering of 
green upon them, but consist of little else than sand ; and from what 
could be seen of the back country, the soil there is scarcely better. 
The vallies are overgrown with long grass, ferns, brush-wood, and 
climbing plants, so as to be almost impenetrable ; yet even there the 
soil is good for nothing. 

At every landing place, from Jervis Bay to Barmouth Creek, the 
fresh water had been observed to diminish both in quantity and qua- 
lity ; and upon this coast of sand the difficulty of procuring it was 
expected to be very great It was, on the contrary, plentiful ; there 
being many little runs which drained out from the sand hills; and 
either trickled over the rocky spots at their feet, or sank through the 
beaches into the sea. 

The western gale being at length succeeded by a breeze at E, N. E», 
Mr. Bass left the Ram Head early on the 31st His course was 
W. by S., dose to a low, sandy coast ; the beach being interrupted by 
small, rocky points, not oftener than once in ten or fifteen miles. 
The back land consisted of short ridges of irregular hills, lying at 
no great distance from the sea. At noon, the latitude was 37° 4*'; 
and the distance run from the Ram Head, by computation, was thirty 
or thirty-five miles. 

The furthest land seen by captain Cook, is marked at fifteen 
leagues from the Ram Head, and called Point Hicks; but at dusk 
Mr. Bass had run much more than that distance close along the 

Digitized by 


East Coast, & V. D.s Land.] INTRODUCTION, 

shore, and could perceive no point or projection which would be dis- b*** . 
tmguishable from a ship : the coast continued to be straight, low, 17W " 
and sandy, similar to what had been passed in the morning. There 
arose many large smokes from behind the beach ; probably from the 
sides of lagoons, with which, there was reason to think, the back 
country abounded. 

The breeze continuing to be fresh and favourable, Mr. Bass ven- 1798. 
tured to steer onward in the night, and kept the shore close a-bord. 
At two in the morning, the increased hollowness of the waves made 
him suspect the water was becoming shallow ; and he hauled off for 
an hour, until there was sufficient daylight to distinguish the land* 
It was still low, level, and sandy, and trended S. W. by W., nearly 
as the boat was steering. At seven o'clock, high land appeared at 
a considerable distance in the south-west ; and the beach then trended 
in the same direction. It, however, changed soon afterward, to run 
nearly west ; and Mr. Bass quitted it to keep on his course for the 
high land. The latitude at noon was $8° 41' ; and the difference 
made from the noon before, upon the average course of S. W. by W;, 
makes the distance run 107 miles; which, added to the preceding 
thirty or thirty-five, gives the length of the beach from the Ram 
Head, to be about 140 miles. * 

The high land extended from the bearing ,of S. W. by S. to 
W. N. W. , and was distant in the latter direction two or three leagues. 
North of it there was a deep bight ; and further eastward, two or 
three places in the Long Beach which had the appearance of inlets. 
To the south there were several rocky islets ; and great numbers of 
petrels, and other sea-birds, were flying about the boat. 

* But the latitude observed appears to be 8' or 1C too little ; and if so, the length of 
the beach would be something more than 150 miles. It is no matter of surprise if obser- 
vations taken from an open boat, in a high sea, should differ ten miles from the truth 5 
but I judge that Mr. Bass' quadrant must have received some injury during the night of 
the 31st, for a similar error appears to pervade all the future observations, even those taken 
under favourable circumstances. 

Digitized by 


<9cii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Bam. From the latitude of the high land, Mr. Bass considered it to be 

1798 * 

that seen by captain Furneaux (or supposed to have been seen), in 
39°; and consequently, that he had traced the unknown space be- 
tween Point Hicks and Furneaux' s Land. His course was now steered 
to pass round this land ; but on coming abreast of the rocky islets, 
a hummock appeared above the horizon in the S. E. by S., and pre- 
sently, a larger one at S. \ W. ; and being unable to fetch the first, 
he steered for the latter, which proved to be an island ; and at six in 
the evening, he anchored under its lee. Vast numbers of gulls and 
other birds were roosting upon it, and on the rocks were many 
seals ; but the surf would not admit of landing. This island was 
judged to be thirty miles, S/by W., from the situation at noon. 

Jan. 2. The wind was strong at E. N. E.; and Mr. Bass being 
apprehensive that the boat could not fetch the high main land, 
determined to steer southward for the islands, in the hope of pro- 
curing some rice from the wreck of the ship Sydney Cove, to eke 
but his provisions. The wind, however, became unfavourable to 
him, veering to E. S. E. ; so that with the sea which drove the boat 
to leeward, the course to noon was scarcely so good as S. S. W. 
The latitude observed was then 39° 51'; and no land being in sight, 
the prospect of reaching Furneaux's Islands became very faint. At 
four o'clock, an accident caused it to be totally given up: water was 
observed to rush in fast through the boat's side, and nude it abso- 
lutely necessary to go upon the other tack. The latitude to which 
Mr. Bass supposed himself arrived, was something to the south of 
40 ; and the weather was clear enough for land of moderate height 
to have been seen five leagues further, had there been any within 
that distance. 

The boat was then kept north-eastward, towards Furneaux's 
Land. At nine in the evening, the wind blew hard at S. E. by E., 
accompanied by a hollow, irregular sea, which put our enterprising 
discoverer and his boat's crew into the greatest danger; but the 
jjood qualities of his little bark, with careful steerage, carried him 

Digitized by 


East Coast, SfV.D.s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxni 

through this perilous night. On the 3rd, at six o'clock, the land Bass. 
was seen; and in the afternoon, whilst standing in to look for a 
place of shelter, a smoke and several people were observed upon a 
small island not far from the main coast. On rowing up, they 
proved to be, not natives, to Mr. Bass' great surprise, but Europeans. 
They were convicts who, with others, had run away with a boat 
from Port Jackson, in the intention of plundering the wreck of the 
Sydney Cove; and not being able to find it, their companions, 
thinking, their number too great, had treacherously left them upon 
this island, whilst asleep. These people were seven in number; and 
♦during the five weeks they had been on this desert spot, had sub- 
sisted on petrels, to which a seal was occasionally added. Mr. Bass 
promised to call at the island, on his return ; and in the mean time, 
proceeded to the west side of the high main land, where he anchored, 
but could not get on shore. 

Jan. 4. The wind being at north-east, he continued his course 
onward, steering W. N. W. round an open bay ; and afterwards 
:N. W. by W., as the coast generally trended. The shore consisted 
of long, shallow bights, in which the land was low and sandy ; but 
the intermediate rocky points were generally steep, with a ridge of 
hills extending from them, into the interior, as far as could be dis- 
tinguished. In the evening an inlet was discovered, with many 
shoals at the entrance ; and the deep channel being not found till a 
strong tide made it unattainable, Mr. Bass waited for high water ; he 
then entered a spacious harbour which, from its relative position to the 
hitherto known parts of the coast, was named Western Port. It 
lies, according to the boat's run, about sixty miles N. W. by W. £ W. 
from Furneaux's Land ; and its latitude is somewhere about 38 25' 
south.* The time of high water is near half an hour after the moon's 
passage over the meridian, and the rise of tide from ten to fourteen 

The examination of this new and important discovery, the repairs 

• The true latitude of the east entrance into Western Port, is about 38* 33' south. 

VOL. I. Q 

Digitized by 


cxiv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Bm. of the boat, and the continuance of strong winds, kept Mr. Bass 



thirteen days in Western Port. His sketch of it has since been 
superseded by the more regular examination of ensign Barralier, 
copied into the chart, where its form, situation, and extent will be 
best seen. The land upon its borders is, generally, low and level; 
but the hills rise as they recede into the country, and afford an 
agreeable prospect from the port. Wherever Mr. Bass landed, he 
found the soil to be a light, brown mould, which becomes peaty in 
the lowest grounds. Grass and ferns grow luxuriantly, and yet the 
country is but thinly timbered. Patches of brush wood are frequent, 
particularly on the eastern shore, where they are some miles in 
extent ; and there the soil is a rich, vegetable mould. The island 
(since called Phillip Island) which shelters the port, is mostly 
barren, but is covered with shrubs and some diminutive trees. 

Mr. Bass had great difficulty in procuring good water, arising, as 
he judged, from unusual dryness in the season; and the head of the 
winding creek on the east side of die port, was the sole placfe where 
it had not a brackish taste. The mud banks at the entrancfe of the 
creek may be passed at half tide by the largest boats ; and within it, 
there is at all times a sufficient depth of water. 

No more than four natives were seen, and their shyness prevented 
communication ; the borders of the port, however, bore marks of 
having been much frequented, but the want of water seemed to have 
occasioned a migration to the higher lands. Kanguroos did not appear 
to be numerous; but black swans went by hundreds in a flight, and 
ducks, a small, but excellent kind, by thousands; and the usual wild 
fowl were in abundance. 

The seventh week of absence from Port Jackson had expired, by 
the time Mr. Bass was ready to sail from Western Port; and the 
reduced state of his provisions forced him, very reluctantly, to turn 
the boat's head homeward. 

Jan. 18. At daylight, he sailed with a fresh wind at west, which 
increased to a gale in die afterhoon, with a heavy swell from the 

Digitized by 


E*stCoa$t,$V.D:sLand.] INTRODUCTION. cxv 

south-west; and he sought shelter behind a cape since named Cape gjj 
Up trap. Next morning, he ran over to the islands on the west side 
of Furneaux's Land ; but was obliged to return to his former place 
of shelter, where a succession of gales kept him until the a6th. 
A quantity of petrels had been taken on the islands, and this week 
of detention was mostly employed in salting them for the homeward 
bound voyage. 

At length, Mr. Bass was able to execute the project he had formed 
for the seven convicts. It was impossible to take them all into the 
boat; therefore to five, whom he set upon the main land, he gave a 
musket, half his ammunition, some hooks and lines, a light cooking 
kettle, and directions how to proceed in their course toward Port 
Jackson. The remaining two, one of whom was old and the other 
diseased, he took into the boat with the consent of the crew, who 
readily agreed to divide the daily bannock into nine with them. He 
then bore away, with a. fresh wind at west, round Furneaux's Land.? 11 

From Jan. s6 to Feb. 1, Mr. Bass was detained by eastern gales 
from proceeding on his return. The boat lay in Sealers Cove, whilst 
he occupied the time in examining Wilson's Promontory. The 
height of this vast cape, though not such as would be considered 
extraordinary by seamen, is yet strikingly so from being contrasted 
with the low, sandy land behind it; and the firmness and durability 
of its structure make it worthy of being, what there was reason to 
believe it, the boundary point of a. large strait, and a corner stone 
to the hew continent. It is a lofty mass of hard granite, of about 
twenty miles long, by from six to fourteen in breadth. The soil 
upon it is shallow and barren ; though the brush wood, dwarf gum 
trees, and some smaller vegetation, which mostly cover the rocks, 
give it a deceitful appearance to the eye of a distant observer. 

* I have continued to make use of the term Furneaux's Land conformably to Mr. Bass' 
journal; but the position of this land is so different from that supposed to have been se*n 
by captain Furneaux, that it cannot be the same, as Mr. Bass was afterwards convinced* 
At our recommendation governor Hunter called it Wilson's Promontory, in compliment 
to my friend Thomas Wilson, Esq. of London. 

Digitized by 


cxvi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Bass. Looking from the top of the promontory to the northward, there 

is seen a single ridge of mountains, which comes down, out of the 
interior country, in a southern direction for the promontory ; but 
sloping off gradually to a termination, it leaves a space of twelve or 
sixteen miles of low, sandy land between them. This low land is 
nearly intersected by a considerable lagoon on the west, and a large 
shoal bay, named Corner Inlet, on the east side ; and it seemed pro- 
bable, that this insulated mass of granite has been entirely surrounded 
by the sea at no very distant period of time. 

There were no inhabitants on Wilson's Promontory ; but, upon 
the sandy neck, some were seen near the borders of the inlets. The 
few birds were thought to have a sweeter note than those of Port 

Four small, barren islands lie seven or eight miles to the north- 
east, from Sealers Cove. The northernmost of them was visited, 
and found to be about one mile and a half in circuit, ascending 
gradually from the shore, to a hill of moderate elevation in the 
centre. There was neither tree nor shrub upon it ; but the surface 
was mostly covered with tufts of coarse grass, amongst which the % 
seals had every where made paths and the petrels their burrows. 
Mr. Bass was of opinion, that upon these islands, and those lying 
scattered round the promontory, which are all more or less fre- • 
quented by seals, a commercial speculation on a small scale might 
be made with advantage. The place of shelter for the vessel would 
be Sealers Cove, on the main land; which, though small, and 
apparently exposed to east winds, would be found convenient and 
tolerably secure : fresh water is there abundant, and a sufficiency of 
wood at hand to boil down any quantity of blubber likely to be pro- 

The observed latitude of the cove was 38 50';* and the rise of 
tide found to be ten or eleven feet, ten hours and a quarter after the 

* TWs appean to be from 1(X to 15' too little: an error which probably arose from th* 
aame cause as others before noticed. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, 8f V. D\s Land.} INTRODUCTION, exvii 

moon passed over the meridian. The flood, after sweeping south- Bass. 
westward along the great eastern beach, strikes off for the Seal 
Islands and the promontory, and then runs westward, past it, at the 
rate of two or three miles an hour : the ebb tide sets to the eastward. 
" Whenever it shall be decided," says Mr. Bass in his journal, 
" that the opening between this and Van Diemen's Land is a strait , 
" this rapidity of tide, and the long south-west swell that seems to 
" he continually rolling in upon the coast to the westward, will then 
" be accounted for." 

Feb. «, Mr. Bass sailed to Corner Inlet; and next day fell in 
with the five convicts, whom he put across to the long beach,* 
but was himself unable to proceed until the 9th, in consequence of 
foul winds. Corner Inlet is little else than a large flat, the greater 
part of it being dry at low water. There is a long shoal on the 
outside of the entrance, which is to be avoided by keeping close to 
the shore of the promontory ; but when the tide is out the depth, ex- 
cept in holes, no where exceeds a£ fathoms. A vessel drawing twelve 
or thirteen feet may lie safely under the high land, from which there 
are some large runs of most excellent water. The tide rises a foot 
less here than in Sealers Cove, and flows an hour later ; arising, 
probably, from the flood leaving it in an eddy, by setting past, and 
not into the inlet. 

s Feb. 9, Corner Inlet was quitted with a strong south-west wind, 
and Mr. Bass steered E. by N. along the shore. At the distance of 
five miles, he passed the mouth of a shallow opening in the low 
sandy beach, from which a half-moon shoal stretches three miles to 
the south-eastward. Four or five miles further, a lesser opening of 
the same kind was passed ; and by noon, when the latitude was 
38 34/ (probably 38° 46'), he had arrived at the point of the long 
beaCh, which in going out, had been quitted to steer for the promon- 
tory. His general course from thence was N. E. by E. along the shore, 
until nine o'clock, when judging the coast must begin to trend more 

* Nothing more had been heard of these five men, 00 late a* 1809* 

Digitized by 


oxviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Bam. eastwardly, he again steered E. b. N. ; the wind blowing a fresh gale 
at W. S. W., with a following sea. At daylight, Feb. 10, the beach 
was distant two miles, and trending parallel to the boat's course. 

The western gale died away in the morning, and was succeeded 
by one from the eastward. The boat was in no condition to struggle 
against a foul wind ; and Mr. Bass, being unwilling to return to 
Corner Inlet, ventured through a heavy surf and took refuge upon 
the beach ; having first observed the latitude to be 37 4/ south. 

The country at the back of the beach consisted of dried-up swamps 
and barren sand hills. Some natives came down with very little 
hesitation, and conducted themselves amicably : they appeared never 
to have seen or heard of white people before. 

Feb. 11, the foul wind had ceased to blow, and the clouds threat* 
ened another gale from the south-west. So soon as there was suf- 
ficient daylight, the boat was launched, and at four the same 
afternoon anchored under the Ram Head. Mr. Bass was kept 
there till the 14th in the evening; when a strong breeze sprung 
up suddenly at south-west, and he sailed immediately, passing 
Cape Howe at ten o'clock. By noon of the 15th, he had reached 
Two-fold Bay, where the latitude was observed to be 36°5S' south ;* 
and having ascertained that Snug Cove, on its north-west side, afforded 
Hate vm.) shelter for shipping, he Steered northward, and passed Mount Dro- 
medary soon after midnight. At noon, Feb. 16, Mr. Bass landed 
upon a small island lying under the shore to the south-east of the 
Pigeon House, to examine a pole which he had before observed, 
and supposed might have been set up as a signal by shipwrecked 
people ; but it proved to be nothing more than the dead stump of 
a tree, much taller and more straight than the others. He sailed 
next morning ; but the wind hung so much in the north and east 

• The true latitude of the mouth of Two-fold Bay is 37° 5', shewing an error of 12* to 
the north, nearly similar to what has been specified in the observations near Wilson's 

Digitized by 


East Coaa,$V.l):s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxi* 

quarters that he was forced successively into Jervis Bay, Shoals **■•• 
Haven, and Port Hacking ; and it was not until the 24th at night, 
that our adventurous discoverer terminated his dangerous and fati- 
guing voyage, by entering within the heads of Port Jackson. 

It should be remembered, that Mr. Bass sailed with only six 
weeks provisions ; but with the assistance of occasional supplies of 
petrels, fish, seal's flesh, and a few geese and black swans, and by - 
abstinence, he had been enabled to prolong his voyage beyond 
eleven weeks. His ardour and perseverance were crowned, in despite 
of the foul winds which so much opposed him, with a degree of suc- 
cess not to have been anticipated from such feeble means. In three 
hundred miles of coast, from Port Jackson to the Ram Head, he 
added a number of particulars which had escaped captain Cook ; 
and will always escape any navigator in a first discovery, unless he 
have the time and means of joining a close examination by boats, to 
what may be seen from the ship. 

Our previous knowledge of the coast scarcely extended beyond 
the Ram Head ; and there began the harvest in which Mr. Bass was 
ambitious to place the first reaping hook. The new coast was traced 
three hundred miles ; and instead of trending southward to join itself 
to Van Diemen's Land, as captain Furneaux had supposed, he found 
it, beyond a certain point, to take a direction nearly opposite, and to 
assume the appearance of being exposed to the bufferings of an open 
sea. Mr. Bass, himself, entertained no doubt of the existence of a 
wide strait, separating Van Diemen's Land from New South Wales ; 
and he yielded with the greatest reluctance to the ntecessity of re- 
turning, before it was so fully ascertained as to admit of no dbubt in 
the minds of others. But he had the satisfaction of placing at the 
end of his new coast, an extensive and useful harbour, surrounded 
with a country superior to any other knowii in the southern parts of 
New South Wales. 

A voyage expressly undertaken for diseovery in an open boat, and 
in which six hundred miles of coast, mostly in a boisterous climate, 

Digitized by 


cxx INTRODUCTION. llVior Discoveries 

Bass, was explored, has not, perhaps, its equal in the annals of maritime 
history. The public will award to its high spirited and able con- 
ductor, alas ! now no more, an honourable place in the list of those 
whose ardour stands most conspicuous for the promotion of useful 
knowledge. r 

Fliwdbm. During the time that Mr. Bass was absent on his expedition in 
the whale boat, the Francis schooner was again sent with captain 
Hamilton to the wreck of his ship the Sydney Cove ; to bring up 
what remained of the cargo at Preservation Island, and the few 
people who were left in charge. On this occasion I was happy 
enough to obtain governor Hunter's permission to embark in the 
schooner ; in order to make such observations serviceable to geo- 
graphy and navigation, as circumstances might afford; and Mr. 
Reed, the master, was directed to forward these views as far as was 
consistent with the main objects of his voyage. 
(Atlas, Feb. 1, we sailed out of Port Jackson with a fair wind; and on 
the following noon, the observed latitude was 35° 43', being 14' 
south of account. I prevailed on Mr. Reed to stand in for the land, 
which was then visible through the haze ; and at sunset, we reached 
into Bateman Bay.* When the two rocky islets in the middle of 
the bay bore S. by W. £ W., a short mile, we had 8 fathoms water, 
and 6 fathoms a mile further in. The north head is steep with, a 
rock lying off it ; but Bateman Bay falls back too little from the line 
of the coast to afford shelter against winds from the eastward. The 
margin of the bay is mostly a beach, behind which lie sandy, rocky 
hills of moderate elevation. 

In the morning of the 3rd, we steered S. by W. along the shore ; 
and saw, in latitude about 36° 58', and eight or nine miles from the . 

* The bearings in the following account are corrected, as usual, for the variation ; but I 
am sorry to say that the steering compasses of the schooner proved to be bad* and there 
was no azimuth compass on board. 

Digitized by 


East Coa$t 9 Sf V.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cwi 

south point of Bateman Bay, a small opening like a river running Flihdeh*. 
south-westward. It was here that Mr. Bass found a lagoon, with 
extensive salt swamps behind it, and observed the latitude 36° 00'. At 
noon, the east point of the opening bore N. £ W. seven miles, and 
the top of Mount Dromedary was visible above the haze ; but no 
observation could be taken for the latitude. 

Soon after noon, land was in sight to the S. S. E., supposed to be; 
the Point Dromedary of captain Cook's chart; but, to my surprise, it 
proved to be an island not laid down, though lying near two leagues 
from the coast. The whole length of this island is about one mile 
and a quarter, north and south ; the two ends are a little elevated, 
and produce small trees ; but the sea appeared to break occasionally 
over the middle part. It is probably frequented by seals, since many 
were seen in the water whilst passing at the distance of two miles. . 
This little island, I was afterwards informed, had been seen in the 
sliip Surprise, and honoured with the name of Montague. 

When captain Cook passed this part of the coast his distance from 
it was five leagues, and too great for its form to be accurately dis- 
tinguished. There is little doubt that Montague Island was then 
seen, and mistaken for a point running out from under Mount Dro- 
medary ; for its distance from the mount, and bearing of about 
N. jg E., will place it in g6° 17', or within one minute of the lati- 
tude assigned to the point in captain Cook's chart. 

At six in the evening, Mount Dromedary was set at N. 40 W. five 
leagues. We steered S. S. W. until two in the morning, when the 
land was so near as made it necessary to alter the course ; and at 
daybreak of the 4th, the shore was not more than three miles dis- 
tant ; it was moderately high and rocky, and at the back were many 
hummocky hills. Having been much upon deck in the night x I then 
retired to rest ; and in the mean time, the schooner passed Mr. Bass's 
Two-fold Bay without its being noticed. At nine we came abreast 
of a smooth, sloping point which, from its appearance, and being 
unnoticed in captain Cook's chart, I named Green Cape. The 

vol. 1. R 

Digitized by 


cxxii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Di$e<mries. 

Flihdees. shore, for about seven miles to the northward, lies N. 16 W., and is 

1798# rocky and nearly straight, and well covered with wood : die Cape 

itself is grassy. On the south side, the coast trends west, three. 

or four miles, into a sandy bight, and then southward to Cape 


The latitude at noon was 37° 25', giving a current of twenty miles 
to the south, in two days ; Green Cape bore N. by E. four leagues, 
and Cape Howe S. by W. five or six miles. Captain Cook lays 
down the last in 37 26 1 , in his chart ; but the above observation 
places it in 37° 30^, which I afterwards found to agree with an ob- 
servation of Mr. Bass, taken on the west side 'of the .cape. The 
shore abreast of the schooner was between one and two miles dis- 
tant ; it was mostly beach, lying at the feet of sandy hillocks which 
extend from behind Green Cape to the pitch of Cape Howe. There 
were several fires upon the shore ; and near one of them, upon an 
eminence, stood seven natives, silently contemplating the schooner 
as she passed. 

On coming abreast of Cape Howe, the wind chopped round to the 
south-west, and the dark clouds which settled over the land con- 
cealed it from our view ; we observed, however, that it trended to 
the west, but sought in vain for the small island mentioned by cap- 
tain Cook as lying close off the Cape.* 

Our latitude was 38* 30' next day, or 38' south of account, although 
the wind had been, and was still from that direction. Mr. Reed then 
steered W. by N., to get in again with the coast; and on the fol* 
lowing noon, we were in 38 16' and, by account, as' of longitude to 
the west of Point Hicks. The schooner was kept more northward 
in the afternoon; at four o'clock a moderately high, sloping hill 
was visible in the N. by W., and at seven a small rocky point on the 
beach bore N. 50* W. three or four leagues. The shore extended 
JE. N. E. and W. S. W., and was low and sandy in front ; but at 

• Hawkesworth, Vol. III. p. 80. Mr. Bass sailed close round the cape in his whale boat, 
bat did not see any island lying there. 

Digitized by 


Em*t Coast, Sf V. D.s Land.] INTRODUCTION. txxiii 

some rfiiles distance inland, there was a range of hills with wood Flindbu. 


upon them, though scarcely sufficient to hide their sandy surface. 

At five in the morning of the 7th, the rocky point bore N. E. £ N. 
six or seven miles, and the furthest visible part of the beach W. \ S. 
The sbuthern wind had died away in the night ; and a breeze spring* 
ing up at N. E., we steered before it along the same low, 
sandy shore as seen in the evening. The hills which arose at three 
or four leagues behind the beach, appeared to retire further back as 
we advanced westward; they would, however, be visible to a ship 
in fine weather, long before the front land could be seen. 

The observed latitude at noon was 38* 17' south, and by two sets 
of distances of the sun east of the moon, reduced up from the 
morning, the longitude was 147* 3/ east.* The beach was six or 
seven miles distant, but after obtaining the noon's observation, we 
closed more in ; and at two or three miles off, found a sandy bottom 
with 1 1 fathoms of line. Our course along the shore from two to 
four o'clock, was S. W. \ S., with a current in our favour. The 
beach then trended more to the west; but the breeze having veered 
to E. by N. and become strong, with much sea, it was considered too 
dangerous to follow it any longer. At five, the western and most 
considerable of two shallow-looking openings bore north-west, seven 
or eight miles ; and at sunset, some high and remarkable land was 
perceived bearing S. W. by W., which proved to be the same dis- 
covered by Mr. Bass, and now bearing the name of tPilson's Pro- 
montory. It appeared, from a partial view given by a break in the 
clouds, as if cut in two, and the parts had been removed to some 
distance from each other: the gap was probably Sealers Cove. 

The state of the weather, and the land to leeward, made it neces- 
sary to haul up south-eastward, close upon a wind. At day-break 

* It was 147° itf ; but as I afterwards found that observations of the sun to the east 
gave 27' less, by this small five inch sextant, and those to the west 2? greater than the 
mean of both, that correction is here applied; but not any which might be required from 
errors in the solar or lunar tables. 

Digitized by 


€xxiy INTRODUCTION. [JW Discoveries. 

FLiwDBif, of the 8th, neither Wilson's Promontory nor any other land to the 
i jas. nor thward could be seen ; but between the bearings of N. 84° and 
S. 6g # E., six or eight miles distant, there was land rather high and 
irregular, with a cliffy shore ; and a separate cluster of rocky islets 
bore south to S. \6° W., from three to five miles. We passed close 
to these last, at six o'clock, and perceived that the tide, which before 
had set to leeward, was then turned to the east : the moon had just 
before passed the meridian; 

This small cluster consists of a steep island, near one mile in 
length, of two smaller round islets, and two or three rocks ; one of 
which obtained the name of Judgment Rock, from its resemblance to 
an elevated seat. The higher and more considerable land to the 
eastward was seen, as we advanced, to divide itself also into several 
parts. This group is principally composed of three islands; and 
between the largest on the east and two others on the west, there 
appeared to be a deep channel. The other parts are rocks, which 
lie scattered mostly off the north-western island. These two clusters 
were called Kent's Groups, in honour of my friend captain William 
Kent, then commander of the Supply. 

Our latitude at noon was 39 38' ; the steep island of the small 
group bore N. 50 W., and the passage through tjie larger islands 
N. is°E., six or eight miles. This observation places the centre of 
the passage and of the large group, in about 39° 39' south ; and from 
the lunar observations of the preceding day, brought on by log, ( for 
unfortunately I had no timekeeper,) it should lie in longitude 
1 47° 2 5 # east - I* ls > however, to be observed, that a fortuitous com- 
pensation of errors can alone render a dead reckoning correct in the 
way of such tides as we had experienced during the last twenty-four 
hours.* r 

By keeping the wind to the southward, we came up with a pyra- 
midal-shaped rock through which there is a chasm: it bore W. 8°S. 

* The longitude of the large group, as given by my time keepers in a future voyage, 
is 147° 17'. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $V.D:* Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxxv 

one mile, at four o'clock, when the eastern island of Kent's large Fundbes. 


group was set at N. 17 E., five or six leagues. At six, the pyramid 
bore N. 38° W. five miles, and high land came in sight to the east- 
ward : one piece extended from N. 75° to S. 87 E., apparently about 
five leagues distant, and the bluff, southern end of another range of 
hills bore S. 51 E., something further. Captain Hamilton supposed 
these to be parts of the land he had seen to the north-west of Pre-, 
servation Island, where the wreck of his ship was lying ; but whether 
they might belong to Furneaux's Islands or to the main, was unknown 
to him. He had always gone to, and returned from his island by 
the east side of this land ; and the wind having veered northward, 
the schooner was kept as much to the north-east as possible, in order 
to pursue the same track. 

We came up with a low point or island at eleven at night, when 
the wind died away. At six in the morning of Feb. 9., the northern 
land extended from N. 49 E. three leagues, to S. 47 E. four or five 
miles ; the southern land bore S. 24 to s° E. five or six leagues^and 
seemed to form a hilly, separate island ; although, as low land was 
seen between them, the two may probably be connected : there was 
also a cliffy island bearing north, seven or eight miles. On a breeze 
springing up- from south-west, our course was steered to pass close 
round the northern land ; but finding much rippling water between 
it and two islands called the Sisters by captain Furneaux, we passed 
round them also, and then hauled to the southward along the eastern 

This northern land, or island as it proved to be, has some ridges 
of sandy-looking hills extending north and south between the two 
shores ; and they are sufficiently high to be visible ten leagues from 
a ship's deck in clear weather. On the west side of the north point, 
the hills come nearly down to the water ; but on the east side, there is 
two or three miles of flat land between their feet and the shore. The 
small trees and brush wood which partly covered the hills, seemed 
to shoot out from sand and rock ; and if the vallies and low land 

Digitized by 


«xxvi INTRODUCTION. IPrwr Discoveries. 

Fliwdeis. within be not better than what appeared from the sea, the northern 


' part of this great island is sterile indeed. The Sisters are not so 
high as some of the hills on the great island, and are less sandy : 
the small, cliffy island, which lies eight or nine miles, nearly west, 
from the inner Sister, had no appearance of sand. 

Whilst passing round the north end of Furneaux's Islands, I 
experienced how little dependence was to be put in compass bearings, 
in such, at least, as were taken with my best instrument, the steer- 
ing compass of the schooner. The south extreme of the inner 
Sister shut on with the north-west point of the great island at E. ^ S., 
magnetic bearing ; but after passing round, they shut, on the other 
side, at W. by N. £ N. ; so that, to produce an agreement, it was 
necessary to allow half a point more east variation on the first, 
when the schooner's head was N. by W., than on the last, when it 
was S. S. E. In a second instance, the north end of the outer Sister 
opened from the inner one at N. E.jN,; but they came on again at 
S. W. I W., making a difference of a Whole point, when the head 
was N. by W. and E. S. E. These bearings were probably not 
correct within two or three degrees ; but they showed that a change 
in the course steered produced an alteration in the compass. 

The observed latitude at noon was 39 50^, the centre of the outer 
Sister bore N. 34* W., nearly five leagues, and our distance from the 
sandy, eastern shore of the great island was about six miles. At 
two o'clock, we came up with an island of three miles in length, 
and nearly the same space distant from a sandy projection of the 
great island. The passage between them is niuch contracted by 
shoal spits of sand which run out from each side ; and it seemed 
doubtful, whether the water were deep enough in any part of the 
channel to admit a ship. The form of the land here is somewhat 
remarkable : upon the low projection of the great island there are 
three pyramidal hills, which obtained the name of the Patriarchs, 
and stand apart from the more western high land ; and upon the 
south-west end of the island opposite there is also a pyramid, which, 

Digitized by 


Ea*tCoa$t i SfV.iy.sLand.'] INTRODUCTION. cixvii 

with other hills near it, presents some resemblance to the lion's Fliwdb&s. 
Head and Rump at the Cape of Good Hope. This island and two 
rocky islets lying off its south-east end: were afterwards called the 
Babel Isles. The largest is covered with tufted grass and brush 
wood; and the whole appeared to be much frequented by shags, 
sooty petrels, and other sea birds/ 

We had scarcely passed the Babel Isles, when the wind, which 
had been at W. byS., chopped round to the southward, with squally 
weather, and drove the schooner off to the north-east. In the night 
it became less unfavourable; and at noon of the loth, our latitude 
was 40* 3j'; the isles bore N. 78 W., three or four leagues, and 
the high land of Cape Barren S. 13° to 34, W. Having a fair wind 4 

in the afternoon, we passed along the outskirts of the Bay of Shoals, 
without perceiving any breakers; but in the space between the 
great island and the land of Cape Barren there were many rocks, 
and a low island of three or four miles long, with a hill in the middle, 
lay at the entrance of the opening. 

The 4iigh part of Cape-Barren Island, but particularly the peak, 
may be seen eleven, and perhaps more leagues from a ship's deck. 
The extremity of the cape is a low point, which runs out two miles 
east from the high land; and off this, point lies a flat, rocky islet 
and a peaked rock The shore is sandy on each side of the Cape 
point: it trends N. 40° W., for about five miles, on one side, and* 
S. 49* W., past two sandy bights on the other, to a rocky projection 
on which are two whitish cones, shaped like rhinoceros' horns. 

We steered south-westward, in the evening, round the Cape point, 
and were sufficiently close to hear the bellowing of the seals upon, 
the islet. Arrived off Cone Point, the schooner was hauled off shore ; 
and die wind becoming strong and unfavourable in the night, it was • 
not until the evening of the 12th, that we got to anchor in Hamilton's 
Road, at the east end of Preservation Island. This road is sheltered 
from all winds, except between south and S. S. E. ; and these do not 1 

Digitized by 


cxxviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flinders, throw in much sea : the bottom is good-holding sand, in from 4 to 3 
fathoms, at a quarter of a mile from the beach. 

The ship Sydney Cove had been run on shore between Preserva- 
tion and Rum Islands, and part of her hull was still lying there; 
but the sea thrown in by western gales had, in great measure, broken 
her up, and scattered the beams; timbers, and parts of the cargo, 
upon all the neighbouring shores. 

My purpose of making an expedition amongst the islands was 
delayed by the schooner's boat being out of repair; but in the mean 
time, a base line was measured round the sandy north-east end of 
Preservation Island, and angles taken from all the conspicuous 

Feb. 16. The boat was fitted, and I made an excursion of five 
days, through the channel which separates the land of Cape Barren 
from the more southern islands. It is called Armstrong's Chan- 
nel, from the master of the Supply, who had gone to afford assist- 
ance in saving the cargo of the Sydney Cove, and was the first to 
pass through it on his return towards Port Jackson ; but hft never 
arrived there, having, in all probability, perished at sea with his 
sloop and crew. The stations whence angles were taken for a 
survey of the channel and surrounding lands, were— 1st. Point 
Womat, a rocky projection of Cape-Barren Island, where a number 
of the new animals, called womat, were seen, and some killed. 2nd. 
Battery Island; so named from four rocks upon it, resembling 
mounted guns ; sooty petrels, and large hair seals were found there. 
3rd. The sandy north-east point of Clarke's Island ; which, with the 
opposite Sloping Point, forms the narrowest part of the channiel. 
Its width was found to be three-quarters of a mile, but is sbmewhat 
contracted by rocks lying on the south side. These rocks wdre 
also frequented by hair seals, and some of them (the old males) 
were of an enormous size, and of extraordinary power. I levelled 
my gun at one, which was sitting on the top of a rock with his nose 

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Em* Coast, Sf V. n:$ Land.-] INTRODUCTION. ckix 

extended up towards the sun, and struck him with three musket Fuwdees. 


balls. He rolled over, and plunged into the water; but in less than 
half an hour had taken his former station and attitude. On firing 
again, a stream of blood spouted forth from his breast to some yards 
distance, and he fell back, senseless. On examination, the six balls 
were found lodged in his breast; and one, which occasioned his 
death, had pierced the heart: his weight was equal to that of a 
common ox. 

The 4th station was on Sloping Point, where an aculeated ant-eater 
was caught, and some quartz crystals were picked up from the 
shore. 5th, At the east side of Kent's Bay, under the peak of Cape 
Barren. This peak I wished to ascend, in order to obtain a view of 
the surrounding lands, particularly of an extensive piece to the south- 
ward, which, from the smokes continually seen there, was supposed 
to be a part of Van Diemen's Land ; but the almost impenetrable 
brush wood, with which the sides of the peak and surrounding hills 
were covered, defeated my purpose. 

The 6th station was at Passage Point. The 7th, on Cone Point, 
where the number of seals exceeded every thing we had, any of us, 
before witnessed ; and they were smaller, and of a different species 
from those which frequented Armstrong's Channel. Instead of the 
bull-dog nose, and thinly-set, sandy hair, these had sharp-pointed 
noses, and the general colour of the hair approached to a black ; but 
the tips were of a silver grey, and underneath was a fine, whitish, 
thick fur. The commotion excited by our presence, in this assem- 
blage of several thousand timid animals, was very interesting to nje, 
who knew little of their manners. The young cubs huddled toge- 
ther in the holes of the rocks, and moaned piteously ; those more 
advanced scampered and rolled down to the water, with their mothers; 
whilst some of the old males stood up in defence of their families, 
until the terror of the sailors bludgeons became too strong to be re- 
sisted. Those who have seen a farm yard, well stocked with pigs, 
calves, sheep, oxen, and with two or three litters of puppies, with 

vol. 1. S 

Digitized by 


cxxx INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discovert*. 

Fi i798 lf " t * lc " r mot ^ ers > * n lt > an( * have heard them all in tumult together, 
may form a good idea of the confused noise of the seals at Cone 
Point. The sailors killed as many of these harmless, and not un-. 
amiable creatures, as they were able to skin during the time neces- 
sary for me to take the requisite angles ; and we then left the poor, 
affrighted multitude to recover from the effect of our inauspicious 

My 8th station was taken, in returning to the schooner, upon 
the south end of the eastern Passage Isle; 9th, the south-west 
end of the western Passage Isle ; and 10th, the south-east point of 
Clarke's Island. The 1 ith and last station was at Look-out Head, the 
bearings from which included some parts of the southern land, be- 
tween the extremes of S. «o° 20' E. and S. S9° 85? w - At these dif- 
ferent stations, the needle of the theodolite was sometimes found to 
vary one or two degrees from itself, as it had done at Preservation 
Island ; an effect which I attribute to the attraction of the rocks, 
having since experienced the same, and even greater, differences in 
most places where the rocks, as here, are granitic. 

In the wider parts of Armstrong's Channel there are many shoals 
of sand on each side, but a passage of sufficient width and depth 
is swept put by the tides, for ships to go through in safety. The 
bottom is either rocky or sandy : rocky in the deep and narrow, 
parts, where the tides run three or four miles in an hour ; and 
sandy in the bights and shoaler places. The sand of the beaches 
is mostly granitic, but it sometimes consists of black metallic par- 
ticles, such as are found in the stone of the islands. 

It was not until Feb. 25 that the remains of the Sydney-Cove's 
cargo were all on board, and that a favourable change in the wind 
permitted us to sail for Port Jackson. These four days of deten- 
tion enabled me to continue the survey along the south side of 
Preservation Island, and as far as the Bay of Rocks upon that of 
Cape Barren. A meridian altitude from the south horizon, observed 
under more favourable circumstances than two others before taken, 

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East Coast, S( V. D.s Land.-] INTRODUCTION. exxxi 

gave40° 28' for the latitude of Hamilton's Road. The longitude is Flindrm, 
19' 20" west of Cape Barren ; and therefore should be 148 & east 1T 
of Greenwich. It is high water in the road, according to Mr. 
Hamilton's report, half an hour before the moon passes over the meri- 
dian ; but from what I observed, without paying particular attention 
to it, the tide did not appear to flow so late by an hour : the medium 
rise was about seven feet, as at Port Jackson. 

Well tasted fresh water is collected, at certain seasons, in small 
pools near the east end of Preservation Island; but that which drains 
from the rocks was first used by the Sydney-Cove's crew, until 
several of them died. Small runs or pools of water are to be found 
almost every where under the high parts of Cape-Barren Island, 
and it is probable there may be some upon Clarke's Island ; but at 
the Passage Isles we found it difficult to obtain wherewithal to satisfy 
our thirst. 

The stone 'of which the southern, and probably the whole of 
Furneaux's Islands are composed, is mostly a whitish granite, but 
sometimes inclining to red; and is full of small, black specks. 
Quartz seems to have a more than usual share in its composition, and 
we occasionally found crystals of that substance upon the shores. 
The black specks were thought to be grains of tin, and to have 
communicated a deleterious quality to the water used by the ship- 
wrecked people. The exceptions to the general prevalence of 
granite were few : they consisted of some black, and some grey 
slate, in thin strata, placed nearly perpendicular to the horizon; but 
even here, the granite had pervaded the fissures of the strata ; and, 
in two instances, a substance which, from its appearance, I supposed 
to be a toad stone, had insinuated itself. 

Some of the trees on Preservation Island had partly undergone a 
peculiar transformation. The largest of them were not thicker than 
a man's leg, and the whole were decayed ; but whilst the upper 
branches continued to be of wood, the roots at the surface^ and the 
trunks up to a certain height, wert of a stony substance resembling 

Digitized by 


cxxxii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discovert**. 

Flinders, chalk. On breaking these chalky trunks, which was easily done, 


rings of the brown wood sometimes appeared in them, as if imper- 
fectly converted; but in the greater number, nothing more than 
circular traces remained. The situation in which these trees were 
principally found, is a sandy valley near the middle of the island, 
which was likewise remarkable for the quantity of bones of birds 
and small quadrupeds, with which it was strewed. The petrefactions 
were afterwards more particularly examined by Mr. Bass, who 
adopted the opinion that they had been caused by water. 

Upon Cape-Barren Island the hills rise to a considerable height, 
that of the peak, which does not much exceed some others, being 
near twelve hundred feet; but on the smaller islands there is no 
elevation of importance. The upper parts of all are generally 
crowned with huge lumps of granite ; and upon many of these, 
particularly on Rum Island, is a smaller, unconnected, round lump, 
which rests in a hollow at the top, as a cup in its saucer ; and I 
observed with a glass, that there was a stone of this kind at the 
summit of the peak of Cape Barren. The lower parts of the islands 
are commonly sandy; and, in several places under the hills, swamps 
and pools are formed. The water in these is generally tinged red; 
and in one, situate between Passage and Cone Points, it had so much 
the appearance of blood, that I went to taste it ; but, except being a 
little brackish, found nothing remarkable. Whether the water 
become thus tinged, in its course down the hills, by earthy or 
metallic substances, or acquire its colour from the roots and leaves 
of vegetables, I am unable to decide ; but think the former most 

All the islands are over-run with brush wood ; amongst which, in 
the more sheltered and less barren parts, are mixed a few stunted 
trees, which seem to shed their bark annually, and to be of the 
heavy kind called gum tree at Port Jackson. The brush wood 
overspreads even the rocks where it can get the least hold; it is 
commonly impenetrable, and on the south and west sides of the 

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Ea*tCoa*t,$r.Z):sLandl INTRODUCTION- <*""» 

islands assumes a depressed, creeping form, strongly indicative of Flimdrm. 


the strength and generality of the winds from those quarters. 
Many of the sandy parts are covered with the hassocks of wiry 
grass, which constitute the favourite retreat of the sooty petrel; and 
at the back of the shores, there is frequently some extent of ground 
where the creeping, salt plants grow, and to which the pinguins 
principally resort. To this general account of the scanty vegetable 
productions of Furneaux's Islands, may be added several low shrubs, 
and a grass which grows on the moist grounds near the borders of 
the pools and fresh swamps, and which, though coarse, might serve 
as food for cattle. 

Of the animal productions of the islands, the list is somewhat 
more extensive. Those for which they are indebted to the sea, are 
seals of two kinds, sooty petrels, and pinguins. The hair seal 
appears to frequent the sheltered beaches, points; and rocks ; whilst 
the rocks and rocky points exposed to the buffettings of the waves 
are preferred by the handsomer and superior species, which never 
condescends to the effeminacy of a beach. A point or island will 
not be greatly resorted to by these animals, unless it slope gradually 
to the water, and the shore be, as we term it, steep to. This is the 
case with the islet lying off Cape Barren, and with Cone Point; with 
parts of the Passage Isles, and the south end of Clarke's Island; and 
at these places only, did I see fur seals in any number. 

The sooty petrel, better known at sea under the name of sheer- 
water, frequents the tufted, grassy parts of all the islands in astonish- 
ing numbers. It is known that these birds make burrows in the 
ground, like rabbits ; that they lay one or two enormous eggs in 
these holes, and bring up their young there. In the evening, they 
come in from sea, having their stomachs filled with a gelatinous sub- 
stance gathered from the waves ; and this they eject into the throats 
of their offspring, or retain for their own nourishment, according to 
circumstances. A little after sunset, the air at Preservation Island 
used to be darkened with their numbers ; and it was generally an 

Digitized by 


exxuNr INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flindbm. hour before their squabblings ceased, and every one had found Ms 
own retreat. The people of the Sydney Cove had a strong example 
of perseverance in these birds. The tents were pitched close to a 
piece of ground full of their burrows, many of which were necessa- 
rily filled up from walking constantly over them; yet, notwithstand- 
ing this interruption, and the thousands of birds destroyed, for they 
constituted a great part of their food during more than six months, 
the returning flights continued to be as numerous as before ; and 
there was scarcely a burrow less, except in the spaces actually 
covered by the tents. These birds are about the size of a pigeon, and 
when skinned and dried in smoke we thought them passable food. 
Any quantity could be procured, by sending people on shore in the 
evening. The sole process was to thrust in the arm up to the shoulder, 
and seize them briskly ; but there was some danger of grasping a 
snake at the bottom of the burrow, instead of a petrel. 

The pinguin of these islands is of the kind denominated little ; the 
back and upper parts are of a lead-coloured blue ; the fore and under 
parts, white. They were generally found sitting on the rocks, in 
the day time, or in caverns near the water side. They burrow in 
the same manner as the sooty petrel ; but, except in the time of rear- 
ing their young, do not seem, like it, to return to their holes every 
night. The places preferred for breeding are those at the back of 
the shore, where the sand is overspread with salt plants ; and they 
were never found intermixed with the petrels, nor far from the salt 
water. Their flesh is so strong and fishy, that had not the skins 
served to make caps, rather handsome, and impenetrable to rain, the 
pinguins would have escaped molestation. 

No other quadrupeds than the kanguroo, womat, and duck-billed 
aculeated ant-eater were found upon the islands. The kanguroo is 
of a reddish brown, and resembles the smaller species which fre- 
quents the brush woods at Port Jackson : when full grown, it weighs 
from forty to fifty pounds. There were no traces of it upon the 
Passage Isles ; but, upon Cape-Barren and Clarke's Islands, the 

Digitized by 


JSaH Coast, Sf V. D. 9 $ Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxxxv 

kanguroo was tolerably abundant, though difficult to be procured, Fundi*!. 
owing to the thickness of its retreats. There were also numbers on l79S * 
Preservation Island, when the Sydney Cove was first run on shore ; 
but having been much harassed and destroyed, a few only were 
shot during the time of our stay. 

Clarke's Island afforded the first specimen of the new animal, 
called womat ; but I found it more numerous upon that of Cape 
Barren : Preservation and the Passage Isles do not possess it. This 
little bear-like quadruped is known in New South Wales, and called 
by the natives womat, wombat, or womback, according to the different 
dialects, or perhaps to the different rendering of the wood rangers 
who brought the information. It burrows like the badger, and on 
the Continent does not quit its retreat till dark ; but it feeds at all 
times on the uninhabited islands, and was commonly seen foraging 
amongst the sea refuse on the shore, though the coarse grass seemed 
to be its usual nourishment. It is easily caught when at a distance 
from its burrow ; its flesh resembles lean mutton in taste, and to us 
was acceptable food. Another species of this animal has been dis- 
covered in New South Wales, which lives in the tops of the trees 
and, in manners, bears much resemblance to the sloth. 

The aculeated ant-eater was not found on any other of the islands 
than that of Cape Barren : it is exceedingly fat, the flesh has a some- 
what aromatic taste, and was thought delicious. 

Of the birds which frequent Furneaux's Islands, the most valuable 
are the goose and black swan ; but this last is rarely seen here, even 
in the fresh-water pools, and except to breed, seems never to go on 
shore. The goose approaches nearest to the description of the species 
called bernacle ; it feeds upon grass, and seldom takes to the water. 
I found this bird in considerable numbers on the smaller isles, but 
principally upon Preservation Island; its usual weight was from 
seven to ten pounds, and it formed our best repasts, but had become 
shy. Gannets, shags, gulls, and red-bills were occasionally seen ; 
as also crows, hawks, paroquets, and a few smaller birds. Fish were 

Digitized by 


cxxxri INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Fundbm. not plentiful, but some were taken with hook and line from the 
1798 ' rocks. 

Speckled yellow snakes, of three or four feet in length, were 
found upon Preservation Island, and exist, no doubt, upon the larger 
isles. They sometimes get into the burrows of the sooty petrel, and 
probably destroy the young. I saw one dragged out by a sailor 
who expected to have taken a bird ; but, being quick in his move- 
ments, he was not bitten. These snakes possess the venomous 
fangs ; but no person experienced the degree of virulence in their 

The schooner was ready to sail on Feb. 25 ; and the wind from the 
westward being fresh and favourable, we left Hamilton's Road to 
return to Port Jackson. It was still a matter of doubt whether the 
land to the south of the islands were, or were not, a part of Van 
Diemen's Land ; and I therefore requested of Mr. Reed to make a 
stretch that way. At noon our latitude was 40 44,^', and the peak 
of Cape Barren bore N. 13* E. ; an island which had been visited 
by the Sydney-Cove's people, and was represented to be a breeding 
place for swans, bore from N. 68° W. to west, five or six miles, and 
there were some smaller islets behind it. The land lying two or 
three miles more to the south is sandy and low in front, but ascends 
in gently rising hills as it retreats into the country. Its general 
appearance was very different from that of Furneaux's Islands, the 
lower hills being covered with green grass, interspersed with clumps 
of wood, and the back land well clothed with timber trees. 

We stretched on until the land was seen beyond 40 50'; and then 
veered to the northward. In this latitude, captain Furneaux says, 
" the land trenches away to the westward ;"* and as he traced the 
coast from the south end of the country to this part, there could no 
longer be a doubt that it was joined to the land discovered by Tasman 
in 1642. The smokes which had constantly been seen rising from 
it shewed that there were inhabitants ; and this, combined with the 
* Cook's Second Voyage Vol. I. page 1 14, 

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East Coast, Sf V.D.'sLand.] INTRODUCTION. oKxvii 

circumstance of there being none upon the islands, seemed to argue Flindbes. 
a junction of Van Diemen's Land with New South Wales ; for it was 
difficult to suppose, that men should have reached the more distant 
land, and not have attained the islands intermediately situated ; nor 
was it admissible that, having reached them, they had perished for 
want of food. On the other hand, the great strength of the tides 
setting westward, past the islands, could only be caused by some ex- 
ceedingly deep inlet, or by a passage through to the southern Indian 
Ocean. These contradictory circumstances were very embarrassing; 
and the schooner not being placed at my disposal, I was obliged, to 
my great regret, to leave this important geographical question 

At the time we veered to the northward, the coast of Van Diemen's 
Land was about three miles distant, and the furthest extreme, a low 
point, bore S. 15* E. two or three leagues. On repassing Cape- 
Barren Point at four o'clock, I obtained two sets of distances of the 
sun west of the moon, to pair with others of the sun on the east side, 
taken on the 10th, also within sight of the Cape. The mean result, 
freed from the errors of the tables, gave its longitude 148° 20' E; 
being 14' more than is assigned to it by captain Furneaux, but 5^ 
less than what appears to be its real situation. 

Nothing worthy of notice occurred in our passage back to Port 
Jackson : we made Hat Hill on March 7, and on the 9th, anchored 
in Sydney Cove. 

Mr. Bass had been returned a fortnight from his expedition in the 
whale boat ; and he communicated all his notes and observations to 
be added to my chart. There seemed to want no other proof of the 
existence of a passage between New South Wales and Van Diemen's 
Land, than that of sailing positively through it ; but however anxious 
I was to obtain this proof, the gratification of my desire was required 
to be suspended by a voyage to Norfolk Island in the Reliance. 

vol. 1. 

Digitized by 




[Prior Discoveries. 


and Bass. 



In September following, His Excellency, governor Hunter, had 
the goodness to give me the Norfolk, a colonial sloop of twenty-five 
tons, with authority to penetrate behind Furneaux's Islands ; and 
should a strait be found, to pass through it and return by the south 
end of Van Diemen's Land ; making such examinations and surveys 
on the way as circumstances might permit. Twelve weeks were 
allowed for the performance of this service, and provisions for that 
time were put on board ; the rest of the equipment was completed 
by the friendly care of captain Waterhouse of the Reliance. 

I had the happiness to associate my friend Bass in this new expe- 
dition, and to form an excellent crew of eight volunteers from the 
king's ships ; but a time keeper, that essential instrument to accu- 
racy in nautical surveys, it was still impossible to obtain. 

My report of the seals at Furneaux's Islands had induced Messrs. 
Bishop and Simpson, the commander and supracargo of the snow 
Nautilus, to prepare their vessel for a sealing speculation to that 
quarter ; and on Oct. 7, we sailed out of Port Jackson together.* 

The wind being fair, we passed Hat Hill at four in the afternoon, 
and next morning, made Mount Dromedary. I took this opportu- 
nity of passing between Montague Isle and the main ; but the depth 
of water being uncertain, the Nautilus was desired by signal not to 
follow. There was no bottom with 13, and afterwards with 20 
fathoms, at a mile distance from the island ; and the passage seemed 
perfectly free from danger, and is five or six miles wide. Mount 
Dromedary, from which the island lies E. by N. £ N., is the highest 
land upon this part of the coast ; its elevation being, I think, not less 
than 3000 feet. The top is about three miles long, and the south 
end is somewhat the most elevated part ; it is covered with wood, 

* Mr. Bass' Journal of observations upon the lands, &c. discovered or seen in this 
voyage, has been published by colonel Collins, in his Account of the English Colony in 
New South Wales, Vol. II. page 143 et seq.j his observations will, therefore, be gene- 
rally omitted in this account* 

Digitized by 


East Coast, 8f V. D.s Land.] INTRODUCTION. oxxxix 

even there, but still more so down the sides ; the shore under it is flindbrs 
mostly a white, sandy beach. "msT* 

At noon the centre of the mountain bore N. N. W. four leagues ; 
but the haziness of the weather prevented an observation being 
taken for the latitude, as it had before done when passing in the 
Francis.* We then hauled further off the coast, with the Nautilus 
in company, and being near the latitude of Cape Howe, at ten < At k* 
o'clock, lay to until daylight, for the purpose of obtaining a good 
departure; but on the 9th, the wind had veered to south-west, and 
the weather having a bad appearance, we bore up for Two-fold Bay. 
The course after passing Green Cape, was N. 16° W. seven miles 
to Haycock Point, and N. 44, W. three or four miles from thence to 
the south point of entrance to the bay; the shore being all along 
bold, and for the most part rocky. From the south point, which 
may be known by its reddish appearance and having a steep rock 
lying offit,we steered for Snug Cove, on the north-west side of the bay; 
and there anchored in <£ fathoms, sandy bottom, at something more 
than a cable's length from the small beach, and the same distance from 
the two points which bound the cove. In this situation, the outer red 
point was hidden by Snug-cove Head ; and further out, in 5 fathoms, 
where the Nautilus anchored, the head and point were in a line. 

In order to make some profit of this foul wind, Mr. Bass landed 
early next morning to examine the country, whilst I went with 
Mr. Simpson to commence a survey of Two-fold Bay. In the way 
from Snug Cove, through the wood, to the long northern beach, where 
I proposed to measure abase line, our attention was suddenly called 
by the screams of three women, who took up their children and ran 
off in great consternation. Soon afterward a man made his appear- 
ance. He was of a middle age, unarmed, except with a whaddie, or 
wooden scimitar, and came up to us seemingly with careless confi- 
dence. We made much of him, and gave him some biscuit ; and he 

* The highest part of Mount Dromedary appears to lie in 36° 19" south, and longitude 
IBOP 1 1' east ; or about 2 south and 1 1' east of its position in captain Cook's chart. 

Digitized by 


cxl INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discovers*. 

Flinders in return presented us with a piece of gristly fat, probably of whale* 

&nd Bass. 

1798. This I tasted ; but watching an opportunity to spit it out when he 
should not be looking, I perceived him doing precisely the same thing 
with our biscuit, whose taste was probably no more agreeable to 
him, than his whale was to me. Walking onward with us to the 
long beach, our new acquaintance picked up from the grass a long 
wooden spear, pointed with bone ; but this he hid a little further on, 
making signs that he should take it on his return. The commence- 
ment of our trigonometrical operations was seen by him with indif- 
ference, if not contempt; and he quitted us, apparently satisfied that, 
from people who could thus occupy themselves seriously, there was 
nothing to be apprehended. 

We measured 1 16 chains along the north beach, and having taken 
the necessary angles, returned to Snug Cove for the purpose of 
observing the latitude ; but the thick squalls, which were continually 
passing over from the south-west, prevented a sight of the sun. The 
survey was continued in the afternoon; and on the following 
morning, Oct. 11, the wind being still unfavourable, the west side of 
the bay was nearly completed. 

I was preparing the artificial horizon for observing the latitude, 
when a party of seven or eight natives broke out in exclamation 
upon the bank above us, holding up their open hands to shew they 
were unarmed. We were three in number, and, besides a pocket 
pistol, had two muskets. These they made no objection to our 
bringing, and we sat down in the midst of the party. It consisted 
entirely of young men, who were better made, and cleaner in their 
persons than the natives of Port Jackson usually are; and their 
countenances bespoke both good will and curiosity, though mixed 
with some degree of apprehension. Their curiosity was mostly, 
directed to our persons and dress, and constantly drew off their at- 
tention from our little presents, which seemed to give but a momen-, 
tery pleasure. The approach of the sun to the meridian calling 
me down to the beach, our visitors returned into the woo4s, 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $ V.D.'b Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxljl 

seemingly well satisfied with what they had seen. We could per- Flinders 
-ceive no arms of any kind amongst them ; but I knew these people 1798. . 
too well not to be assured that their spears were lying ready, and 
that it was prudent to keep a good look out upon the woods, to 
prevent surprise whilst taking the observation. 

Oct. 12. We sailed in the afternoon, with a breeze from the east- 
ward; but a return of the wind to south-west, with threatening 
weather, induced me to bear up again in the evening; and we 
anchored on the south side of the bay. This part is not so well 
sheltered as Snug Gove, for the Nautilus was not quite land-locked 
in 3 fathoms water. The weather became very bad in the night ; 
and being no better on the 13th, the two vessels were completed 
with wood, and the country further explored ; a few more bearings 
were also added to our materials for laying down a plan of the bay, 
and thus terminated our examination. 

The latitude of Snug Cove on the north-west side of Two-fold 
Bay, and by much the best anchorage in it, is 37° 4' south. The 
longitude, from two sets of distances of the sun west of the moon, 
deducting i6^ for the errors of the tables, was 150 3' east v of 
Greenwich. The variation of the azimuth compass observed on the 
beach, was 9 29', and of the surveying theodolite 1 1° 8^-' east. My 
haste to complete the survey did not allow of much attention being 
paid to the tides ; but it was high water about nine hours after the 
moon passed over the meridian, and the general rise from six to 
eight feet; 

Two-fold Bay is not, of itself, worthy of particular interest ; but 
as nothing larger than boats can find shelter in any other part of 
this coast, from Jervis Bay, in latitude 35 6', round to Corner Inlet, 
or to Furneaux's Isles in 40^°, it thereby becomes of importance to 
whalers, and to other ships passing along the coast. 

Besides its latitude, Two-fold Bay may be known by Mount 
Dromedary, which will be seen, in moderately fine weather, at 
the distance of fifteen or sixteen leagues to the northward ; and also 

Digitized by 


cxlii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries 

Plikmrs by the land behind the bay lying more in hummocks than else- 
^1798"" where. One of these hummocks is round, and much higher than 
the rest; and when it bears S. 6o° W. (S. W. ± W. nearly, by 
compass,) a course for it will bring a ship to the middle of the bay. 
On approaching near, she should look for two rocks, rather pointed, 
of which one lies off the outer north, and the other off the outer 
south point. Snug Cove is difficult to be distinguished by a stran- 
ger ; but on coming near the rocky head, at the south-west end 
of the long northern beach, it will be seen on the south side of 
that head ; and the anchor must be then ready to be let go. If the 
wind be from the southward, it should be dropped a little before 
the head shuts on with the south point of the bay, in 5 or 6 fathoms 
water ; and in veering away, the lead should be kept out astern of 
the vessel. There is room for two or three small ships in Snug 
Cove, but not for more. 

Wood, in abundance, can be procured on every side of the bay ; 
but there are only two places where fresh water was found, and that 
not very good. One of these was a swampy pond upon the low 
neck behind Snug Cove, where casks might be filled without much 
difficulty; the other is near the inferior anchorage on the south side 
of the bay ; and both are indicated in the particular plan. 

The ponds and lagoons, which are to be found at the back of 
most of the beaches, are frequented by ducks, teal, herons, red-bills, 
and some small flights of the curlew and plover. The bay seemed 
to be well stocked with fish ; and our success with hook and line 
made us regret having no seine, for the hauling of which many of 
the beaches are particularly well adapted. It is not improbable that 
Two-fold Bay, like some of the open bays on the east coast of Africa, 
may be frequented by whales at certain seasons : of this I have no 
decisive proof; but the reef of rocks, called Whale Spit, received its 
name from the repiains of one found there. The natives had taken 
their share; and the dogs, crows, and gulls were carrying away 
the rest. 

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East Coast, SfV.D:* Land.] INTRODUCTION. crliii 

Oct. 14. In the morning, we left Two-fold Bay with a breeze at Flindbas 
north-east; and at sun-set, 'having run eleven leagues from the "xj^* 1, 
south point, our departure was taken from Cape Howe. I then 
steered S. W. by S., judging it to be the course best calculated to 
bring us within sight of the land supposed, by captain Furneaux, to 
lie in 39 south. On the 1,5th, at noon, our latitude was 38 34/; 
the weather was fine, but no land visible to the southward. In the 
opposite direction there was a range of hills whose centre bore 
N. by W. £ W. ; at sunset it was seen as far as N. 37 W., from 
the sloop's deck, and from the mast head of the Nautilus, the 
land was distinguished, or thought to be so, as far as.N. 6o° W, 
These bearings, but particularly the last, seemed to shew a strong 
current to the westward, for neither Mr. Bass nor myself could 
believe, that the hills at the back of the Long Beach were sufficiently 
elevated to be seen beyond fifteen leagues ; I therefore took four 
sets of distances, of stars east and west of the moon, which placed 
us, an hour and a half after sunset, in longitude 149 13' east, 
agreeing nearly with the dead reckoning. The land, if it really were 
such, was consequently twenty-five or more leagues off; and if the 
bearing of N. 6o° W. were not a mistake, it must have been thirty 
leagues distant in that direction. .This supposed land was visible all 
the afternoon; but it might possibly have been the dense clouds, 
hanging over the hills at the back of the Long Beach, and not the 
land itself. 

Our course to the south-westward was continued all night; but 
the wind having veered to W. S. W. at daybreak of the 16th, the 
sloop was then put on the northern tack. No land was visible in 
any direction ; nor was there any at noon, when the observed lati- 
tude was 38° 42'. The wind veered round by the south until it 
fixed itself at east ; and when the day broke, on the 17th, the signal 
was made to the Nautilus, and we bore away S. W. by W. until 
noon. The latitude was then 39 1 1' south, and we judged ourselves 
to be nearly in the meridian of the Sisters ; the weather was tolerably 

Digitized by 


cxliv INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

^(Tbam ^ ne ' an ^ ^ a( * " )een so ^ t ^ le morn " 1 g> y et no knd was an y where to 
170s. be seen ; and I therefore concluded, ttfat none could lie in or near 

the meridian of these islands, and be in the latitude of 39°. 

The course steered at noon was west ; but in half an hour it 
was altered for high irregular land which came, in sight to the 
south-westward, and proved to be the largest of the two clusters 
which I had discovered when in the Francis, and named Kent's Groups. 
We sounded in 30 fathoms, but lost the lead, the sole deep-sea line 
with which we had been furnished, proving to be totally rotten. 
After running twenty miles, assisted by a flood tide, we came up 
with the group at four o'clock, and steered though the channel by 
which the principal islands are separated. It is about three miles 
long, and a full mile in width ; is free from danger, and so deep, 
that our hand line could not reach the bottom. There are two sandy 
coves on the east, and one on the west side of the channel, where 
small vessels might find shelter, if there were any inducement to 
visit these steep, barren, granitic masses of rock. Above the cliffs 
we could occasionally perceive a brown-looking vegetation of brush 
wood, and here and there a few starved gum trees ; but there was 
neither bird nor quadruped to enliven the dreary scene.* The 
principal island of the small, western group, opened at S. 68° W., 
on clearing the channel ; and we then hauled the wind to the south- 
ward, for Furneaux's Islands, that the Nautilus might no longer be 
detained from her sealing business. 

The wind blew fresh from the eastward all night, with hazy 
weather. At daylight, Oct. 18, a large piece of hilly land bore 
N. 48° to 6£ E., four leagues ; and soon afterward, Mount Chappell, 
a smooth round hill which had been seen from Preservation Island, 

* Kent's large group is not, however, so barren and deserted as appearances bespoke. 
It has since been ascertained that, in the central parts of the larger islands, there are 
Tallies in which trees of a fair growth make part of a tolerably vigorous vegetation, and 
where kanguroos of a small kind were rather numerous ; some seals, also, were found 
upon the rocks, and fresh water was not difficult to be procured in certain seasons* 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $ V.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxlv 

wfcs set at S. 78 E., distant seven or eight leagues, and was as con- FL f^ >Bli 
spicuous on this side as when seen from the eastward. Our latitude 1798. 
at noon was 40 22', and Mount Chappell bore N. 71° E. seven or 
eight miles, which would place it 1' to the north of its position before 
determined. Between us and the mount were two small, low islands, 
and to the northward, the hilly land first seen was visible under the 

Finding the wind hang obstinately in the eastern quarter, we had 
tacked to the north in order to keep under the lee of the islands. 
This course brought us, in the evening, within two miles of the hilly 
northern land, the same which had been discovered in the Francisr, 
and of whose connection with the great island of Furneaux I was 
doubtful ; nor could it yet be determined. The shores of the south- 
western part are rocky; and the land rises, by a steep ascent, to hills 
of an elevation equal to that of Mount Chappell. These hills are 
slightly covered with grass and small brush wood, but the genera! 
appearance was that of great sterility. 

About four miles to the south of this land we had passed a rocky 
islet, and observed a circular reef which seemed to connect the two 
together. The stormy appearance of the night induced me to stretch 
in, under this reef; and finding there was shelter from the east winds, 
we came to an anchor in 5 fathoms, coarse sand : the Nautilus followed; 
but not liking the place, captain Bishop preferred keeping the sea. 
On sounding round the sloop, I found the bottom every where foul, 
and that there were no means of escape in case of a shift of wind ; 
therefore, after killing a few seals upon the granitic rocks, we 
weighed the anchor, ran two leagues to the southward, and then 
hauled the wind under storm sails for the night. 

Oct. 19, the wind was at north-east ; and we bore away to pass 
between Mount Chappell and the low islands lying to the west- 
ward. The passage is about two miles wide, and the water much 
discoloured ; but 10 fathoms of line did not reach the bottom. A 
similar appearance in the water had been observed several leagues 
vol 1. U 

Digitized by 


cxlvi INTRODUCTION; {Prior Ducoverie*. 

Flinders to the westward of the low islands, where there was a* to 25 fathom*, 


1798. on a bottom of sand and broken shells. 

This small group, to which the name of Chappell Isles is affixed 
in the chart, consists of three, or perhaps four islands, for the mount 
seemed to stand detached from the land on the east side of the pas* 
sage. The basis of the whole is probably of granite, and they seemed 
nothing superior in fertility to the worst of Furneaux's Islands; but 
in a distant view, a slight covering of small herbage upon their 
sloping, even surfaces, gave them a prepossessing appearance 
Mount Chappell is five or six hundred feet above the water ; and 
the elevation of the other islands being inconsiderable, it was a very 
conspicuous object until, by the clearing away of the haze, the high 
mountains Qf the great island behind it became visible : their white, 
towering peaks, bathed in the late showers, reflected the gleaming 
sunshine with great splendour, and presented a spectacle so magni- 
ficent, that the circular, gently sloping Mount Chappell no longer 
attracted attention. 

We joined the Nautilus off the south side of the islands, and after 
passing several rocks in our course eastward, anchored at the east 
end of Preservation Island about noon. Mr. Hamilton had left his 
house standing, with some fowls and pigeons in it, when we had 
quitted the island nine months before. The house remained in nearly 
the same state, but its tenants were not to be found, having pro- 
bably fallen a prey to the hawks. 

Oct. so, the wind was at north-west, and blew a gale, accompa- 
nied with rain, which continued for several days. This weather very 
much impeded our progress with the Nautilus in Armstrong's 
Channel, but captain Bishop at length moored in Kent's Bay, the 
most secure place to be found within reach of the sealing points. 
The greater part of Kent's Bay is occupied by shoals ; but along the 
shore of Sloping Point there is a deep channel running northward, 
which leads into the western head of the bay; and there, behind a 
reef of dry rocks, several ships may lie in 4 or £ fathoms, shel- 

Digitized by 


East Coa*t,$V.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxlvu 

tered from all winds. The Nautilus's tents Were pitched upon the Flwdmm 
borders of a run of fresh water, about one mile north of the ahchor- ^179^' 
age ; and a garden, which captain Bishop made there, produced some 
tolerable vegetables. 

We had no prospect of advancing along the north coast of Van 
Diemen's Land whilst the strong western winds continued to blow ; 
and therefore, whilst Mr. Bass explored some of the islands, I occu- 
pied myself in sounding different parts of Armstrong's Channel, and 
in making some other additions to ray former survey. At length, 
on Oct. 31., the gale moderated to a light breeze, and we stretehed 
over, with the flood tide, towards the Swan Isles. At noon, our 
situation was as under. 

Latitude observed, - - - 40 39 S. 

Peak of Cape Barren, - N. 1$ E. 

Van Diemen's Land, eastern extr. about S. by E. 

Largest Swan Isle, the centre, - - S. 53 W. 
Soon after three o'clock, we anchored in a small sandy bay, at the 
south-east end of the largest Swan Isle, in 4 fathoms ; being well 
sheltered from north and western, winds, but entirely open to any 
that might arise from the opposite quarters. The furthest ea> 
treme of the opposite coast then bore S. 36° E. three leagues ; but 
the nearest part, in the direction of S, by W., was little more than 
three miles distant. 

I landed with Mr. Bass ; and leaving him to pursue his researches, . 
went round to the north side of the island, to take angles* From a 
small, elevated projection there, - 

The peak of Cape Barren was set at N. «°8 40 E. 

Mount Chappell, - N. 21 20 W.; 

from which, and several intermediate bearings, this station became 
firmly connected with the survey of Furneaux's Islands. Mr. Bass 
thought the stone to contain a rather large quantity of iron, and the 
bearings seemed to confirm it, for they did not agree in any common 
intersection with the allowance of 9 east, which I considered to be 

Digitized by 


cxlviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flinders the true variation ; but with 6° 30', they not only coincided, but 
itssT placed this station in latitude 40 43' south, the same as deduced 
from three meridional observations taken within sight of the 

One mile from the north-west end, lies a low, rocky islet, and 
several rocks both above and under water. All these are compre- 
hended under the general name of the Swan Isles ; a name* which, 
on examination, they appeared very little to deserve, for we did 
not see a single bird of that species, or any of their nests ; but there 
were several of the bernacle geese, and two of them were shot by 
Mr. Bass. 

The length of the largest Swan Isle is two and a quarter miles, 
by a medium breadth of one mile. The stony parts are over-run 
with thick brush wood, and the sandy are mostly covered with has- 
socks of wiry grass, to which the sooty petrels resort. In external 
appearance, this island bears a resemblance to that of Preservation ; 
but its sterility is greater, and it is destitute of the kanguroo. We 
did not see any fresh water in the vallies, a seal upon the shores, nor 
any marks of the island having been ever visited by the natives of 
the opposite coast. 

Nov. 1. Having an unfavourable wind, I waited the flood tide, and 
then proceeded westward, along that part of Van Diemen's Land 
to which the name of Cape Portland was given, in honour of His 
Grace the then secretary of state for the colonies. From the eastern 
extremity, the coast trends about N. 6a° W. six leagues, and termi- 
nates in a point, off which lie some small rocky islets. The shore 
consists of long, sandy beaches, separated by low and stony points, 
which project very little beyond the coast line. The country for two 
or three miles behind the shore is low and sandy; but it then ascends 
in gradations of gently rising hills, and being covered with verdure, 
interspersed with clumps of wood and single trees of a fair growth, 
it had a very pleasing appearance. At the back of these hills, the 
bare and rugged tops of a ridge of distant mountains appeared 

Digitized by 


East Coast, fV.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxlix 

here and there, and formed a striking contrast with the verdure of flinmri 
the front scene. ^1798."' 

Our soundings along the south side of the largest Swan Isle were 
generally 8 fathoms, on a sandy bottom ; nor was there much de- 
crease until noon, when the low shore of C^pe Portland was at 
something less, and the outer rocky islets something more than a 
mile distant; and we came rather suddenly into 3 fathoms. . The 
latitude observed was 40° 43 # ± south, and the island last quitted bore 
N. 85* to S. 84 E., distant six miles. 

There being little wind at this time, the sloop, in passing round the 
rocky islets of Cape Portland, was carried by the tide over a ledge 
where there was scarcely 2 fathoms ; and was then driven westward 
on a curved line of rippling water, which extended northward from 
the islets as far as the eye could reach. We passed over the rippling 
in 9 fathoms ; and the wind being entirely gone, were then carried to 
the south-west. 

Soon after four o'clock, the ebb appeared to be making ; and the 
anchor was dropped in 11 fathoms, sandy bottom, about one mile 
west of Cape Portland. .The shore on this side of the cape trends 
south, in rocky heads and beaches, and afterwards curves westward, 
forming an extensive bay, which terminates in a point. To this the 
name of Point Waterhouse was given, in honour of the commander 
of the Reliance; and an island, whose, top is level and moderately 
high, lying off the point, was named Isle Waterhouse. 

The bottom of the large bay is sandy, and the hills of Cape Port- 
land there retiring further back, permitted a view of the inland 
mountains, of which there was a high and extensive ridge. Moun- 
tains like these are usually the parents of rivers; and the direction 
of the ebb tide, which came from between S. W. by S. and S. W. by 
W. at the rate of two-and-half mUes an hour, gave hopes of finding 
some considerable inlet in the bay, and increased our anxiety for a 
fair breeze. 

Digitized by 


cl INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

fundus A set of distances of the sun east of the moon, a meridian altitude 
^iws!] 8 * °f *h e plane* Mars, and a western amplitude of the sun were taken at 
this anchorage, the results of which, with the bearings of the land, 
were as under : • # 

Latitude observed, - - - 40 44 S. 

Longitude from lunar distances corrected, - 147 56 E. 

Variation of the compass (the sloop's head being S.W.) is 30 E. 

C. Barren peak, over the outer islets of C. Portland, N. 47 E. 

Mount Chappell, - North. 

Isle Waterhouse, centre, dist 5 or 6 leagues, S. 71 W. 

Point Waterhouse, - - S. 61 W. 

Ridge of inland mountains, - - South to S. 4s W. 

Highest part of ditto, a round top, - - • S. 19 W. . , 
The flood tide ceased to run at three quarters past three in the 
morning, or about nine hours after the moon passed over the meridian* 

Nov. s. A light breeze having sprung up from the eastward we 
steered for the bottom of the bay, and at noon the nearest part of the 
beach was distant only two miles. . • # 

Observed latitude, - 40 49^ S. 

C. Portland, with the outer islets behibd, - N. S7 E. 
Isle Waterhouse, extremes, - N. 78* to 89 W. 
Point Waterhouse, - - - S.88f-W. 

We stood on another mile, and then bore away westward, follow* 
ing the round of the shore, but no inlet could be perceived. At three 
o'clock, we had passed Point Waterhouse, and seeing a fair channel 
of about two miles wide between it and the island, steered through, 

Isle Waterhouse is near four miles in length. Its southern shore 
consists of beaches and rocky points ; but it rises abruptly to a mo* 
derate elevation. The level top is mostly covered with wood ; and 
although its appearance did not bespeak fertility, it was superior to 
any we had seen of Furaeaux's Islands. The land at the back of 

Digitized by 


Easi Coast, S(V.D\$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. di 

Point Waterhouse is higher than that of the island^ and is composed Flindbe§ 
of grassy, woody hills, rising over each other by gentle ascents, 1798. 
Upon the point there is a sandy hillock, and a reef of rocks extends 
out from it a quarter of a mile. We had 8 fathoms, whilst rounding 
this reef; and in steering through the passage, the soundings were 
$> 7 9 6> 5> 4> 5> 6 fathoms ; the sandy bottom being visible under 
the sloop. At the further end of the channel, a rocky islet and a 
small reef were passed, leaving them on the starbord hand. The 
islet was almost covered with sea birds and hair seals ; from whid^ 
circumstance we judged, that the natives of Van, Diemen's Land 
were not able to get across here, any more than to the Swan Isle?; 
and that, consequently, they had no canoes upon this part of the coa?t 
From Point Waterhouse, the shore trends S. 67* W., five or six 
miles, and is mostly rocky. It then takes a direction of S. S. W., in 
a long sandy beach, and afterwards curves westward to a projecting 
point, near which we had no ground with 13 fathoms a little before 
sunset. Another island had been fc>r some time visible, and was then 
distant six miles : It was called 

Ninth Island, and bore - - N. 32 W. 

Isle Waterhouse, about the centre, - N. £0 E. 

South side of the passage, * - N. 63 E. 

Projecting point, dist. one-third of a mile, South. 

The projecting point is over-topped with hillocks of almost bare 
;sand, as is a second, which lies W. 6° S., two or three miles from, 
and much resembles, the first: these two projections received the 
joint name of Double Sandy Point. The back country was manifestly 
worse than any before seen on this coast. The pleasant looking 
hills of Point Waterhouse no longer approached die shore; but 
retiring far inland, left a low space between the back hills and the 
sea, which had every appearance of being sandy and barren. 

In passing the western part of Double Sandy Point, we, had 5, and 
then 4 fathoms ; and saw a reef extending from it some distance to the 
westward. It was then nearly dark, and we hauled off upon a wind, 

Digitized by 


€lu INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries, 

FtiNDBis for the night; the furthest visible extreme, a remarkable stony 
"ws!** head, bearing S. 70* W. about eight miles. 

The wind blew a moderate breeze all night, at north-east At 
five in the morning, Nov. 3, the Ninth Island was distant two miles, 
and bore E. 2 N., in a line with Point Waterhouse. The top of the 
island appeared green and level ; but I did not see any seals upon 
the rocks. Resuming our former course along shore, we passed 
close to Stony Head at ten o'clock, when two sets .of distances of 
the sun east of the moon, gave its corrected longitude 147 10' east. 
The wind having then veered more to the north, we hauled further 
off, and passed a rocky islet (the tenth), upon which a few over- 
grown hair seals were sunning themselves. At noon, our situation 
was as follows. 

Latitude observed, - - 40 55^ S. 

Tenth L, distant four miles, - S. 87 E. 

Stony Head, dist. six or seven miles, S. 63 E. 

A low head, distant ten miles, - S. 35 W. 

Western extreme of the land, - S. 53 W, 
Stony Head is the extremity of a ridge of hills which branches 
out from the inland mountains, and stretches across the low, sandy 
land in front, to the sea. On each side of the ridge there were 
several smokes, which Induced me to suppose the flat lands might 
contain lakes of fresh water. The low head, bearing S. 35° W. 
seemed to be the termination of another branch from the inland 
mountains ; round it there was some appearance of an opening, and 
at two o'clock, this excited so much hope that I ventured to bear away 
before the wind. We advanced rapidly with the flood, and at four, 
had passed Low Head and were steering S. E. by S., up an inlet of 
more than a mile wide. Some shoals, not quite covered, we left on the 
starbord hand ; keeping a straight course for the entrance of a basin 
or bay, at which the inlet jseemed to terminate. This course took 
us over some strong ripplings of tide, on none of which, however, 
there was less than 5 fathoms ; and so soon as they were passed, 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $V.D:s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cliii 

13 fathoms did not reach the bottom. After advancing three miles, Flinders. 
we approached a low, green island, lying nearly in mid-channel; "i;^"' 
and being uncertain which was the deepest side, I took the most 
direct, which lay to the west. From 8 fathoms, the next cast of the 
lead was 3J-, and immediately the sloop was aground. Fortunately, 
the bottom was soft, and the strong flood dragged her over the 
bank without injury. The water deepened again as quick; and 
when the channel on the east side of Green Island was open, there 
was no bottom at 13 fathoms. 

We could not but remark the contrast between the shores of this 
inlet, covered with grass and wood down to the water's edge, and 
the rocky sterile banks observed in sailing up Port Jackson: it spoke 
favourably for the country, and added to the satisfaction we felt in 
having made the discovery. There was, however, little time for 
meditation: the tide drove the sloop rapidly onward to the basin; 
and the evening coming on, I pushed betwfeeh some dry rocks and a 
point on the western sifle, and anchored in 2 fathoms, on a bottom 
of sand and mud. 

There appeared to be three arms, or rivers, discharging them- 
selves into this extensive basin. That which came from the west- 
ward, had its embouchure close to the sloop ; and Mr. Bass went off 
in the boat to look up it. His attention was, however, soon called 
to another pursuit: a number of black swans were swimming before 
him, and judging from former experience in Western Port, that 
several of them were unable to fly, he gave chase with the boat. 
On his return at dusk, he rejoiced us with the sight of four, and 
with a promise that we should not be in want of fresh provisions in 
this port. 

Nov. 4. I landed Mr. Bass with two men, to examine the country, 
and then commenced a survey of the port by an examination of the 
Western Arm. It is narrow, and has not more in the entrance than 
3 fathoms, although, about one mile up, there be 7 near the star- 
bord shore. This arm is not accessible to ships beyond tfcree miles; 

vol. 1. X 

Digitized by 


cliv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flindbbs and even in that distance there is much more shoal than deep 

and Ba98. 

1798. water. 

The rocks lying at the entrance of the basin are covered at the top 
of the flood, but at other times are much frequented by shags. After 
observing the latitude and taking bearings there, I went down to 
Green Island ; and the tide being then out, perceived the shoals in 
Sea Reach to be so numerous and extensive, that it was surprising how 
the sloop could have reached thus far without striking upon some of 
them. In the channel to the east of Green Island I found from 7 to 
*5 fathoms, and both the sides of it steep to ; a rock lies in the middle 
of the passage, but at twenty yards from it there was g fathoms all 
round. Green Island is covered with long, coarse grass and bushes, 
with a few small trees intermixed. The large, noisy gulls frequent it 
for the purpose of breeding, as do the swans, several of whose deserted 
nests were found with the broken egg-shells in them. These were 
corroborating proofs, that the natives of this part of Van Diemen's 
Land have not the means of transporting themselves across the 
water; for Green Island is scarcely two cables length from the 

In returning to the sloop, I took off Mr. Bass and his party, 
together with a kanguroo weighing between eighty and ninety 
pounds, which he had shot out of a considerable flock. Our fresh 
provisions were still further increased by an addition of six swans, 
caught this evening with the boat. v 

Nov. 5 was employed in the survey of the Western Arm, and 
searching, but in vain, for the means of conveniently replenishing 
our water casks. Next morning we steered across the basin, and 
sought to anchor under an island which, from its situation at the 
entrance of the eastern arm, was called Middle Island; but there 
not being a sufficient depth of water behind it, the course was 
continued up the eastern arm, in 10 or more fathoms water, for two 
or three miles ; when we anchored upon a five-fathom bank, near a 
small cov*on the northern shore, ' On landing, a little stream was 

Digitized by 


East Coast, SfV.D.s Land.] INTRODUCTION. civ 

found descending from the hills into the south-east comer of the flindbm 
cove, and in the middle was a gully with several deep holes in it m i 79 s^ 
full of excellent water: this last, though not accessible till half flood, 
was the most convenient for our purpose. 

There were many recent traces of natives on the shore; and after 
returning to the sloop, we saw, on the opposite side of the arm, a 
man who employed or amused himself by setting fire to the grass 
in different places. He did not stay to receive us, and we rowed 
down to Middle Island where a smoke was rising. The natives 
shunned us there also ; for soon after landing, I saw three of them 
walk up from the shoal which joins Middle Island to the opposite 
low, sandy point. The party appeared to consist of a man, a woman, 
and a boy ; and the two first had something wrapped round them 
which resembled cloaks of skins. 

The gently-sloping hills of Middle Island afford about forty acres 
of pasture land, well covered with grass, and thinly wooded. # No 
fresh water was seen, but it might probably be obtained by digging. 
This island is little frequented by aquatic birds, from the circum- 
stance of its being accessible, at low water, to the inhabitants of the 

Nov. 7. Mr. Bass and myself landed on the south shore upon our 
respective pursuits. The sandy point at the back of Middle Island 
was particularly favourable to the survey; and a base of sixty-six 
chains measured round it, with the concomitant angles, enabled me 
to connect the eastern arm with the basin. The sloop had been 
completed with water in the morning, and was ready to proceed in 
continuation of the voyage ; but the width of the arm, the depth of 
water in it, and strength of the tides, were too strong indications 
of a river of extensive course for me to be able to quit it without 
some further examination. 

A rainy gale from the eastward did not allow of moving until (Atia«, 
Nov. 9th ; we then got under way with the flood tide, and beat up Hate V1,) 
the first, or Long Reach, against a south-east wind. Abreast of Point 

Digitized by 


dvi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. - 

Flinders Rapid ( see the chart), where the river turned sharp round to the 
1798. south-west, I went away in the boat to examine the upper end of 
Long Reach ; but the haste required in following after the sloop, 
~ which the tide assisted in driving fast upward, allowed me to do it 

but very cursorily. In Crooked Reach, I stopped at two places, and 
measured a short base near Glen Bight. The sloop was then lost to 
view, although the wind had died away; and on reaching Brush 
Island, it was not easy to know which way she had taken, Round-head 
Bay having as much the appearance of being a continuation of the 
river, as had Whirlpool Reach. This reach stretches south-eastward, 
and its width is much less than in any of the lower parts of the river, 
being no more than a short quarter of a mile ; but, as might be ex- 
pected, the depth in it, from 10 to » fathoms, is greater, and its 
borders are steep and rocky. At the end of Whirlpool Reach, the 
banks of the river opened out so considerably that, from our little 
boat, it appeared like a sea, the land at the further end being scarcely 
distinguishable. Fortunately, we got sight of the sloop in Anchor 
Bight before it was dark, and carried with us another black swan. 

Nov. 10, being under the necessity of going down to Brush Island, 
to bring the survey up from thence to the position of the sloop, we 
did not get under way till near noon. The wind was from the west- 
ward, and I went forward in the boat to Egg Island, so named from 
the number of eggs, mostly of the gull and red bill, which were 
there found. It is small and stony ; but covered with grass, and had 
not been visited by the natives. My next station was on the oppo- 
site side of the river, upon a low sandy point which is length- 
ened by a dry shoal. These project out from the general line of 
the southern shore, and contract the river to less than half 4 mile ; 
whereas its width above and below, is one mite and a half. Ota 
the east, or lee side of this point and shoal was a flock of swans, in 
number not less than from three to five hundred ; and their cast quills 
were so intermixed with the sand, as to form a component part of the 
beach. This countless number of quills gava me an insight into the 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $V.&.$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. cbii 

cause why so many of the swans, though not young birds, were Flwmrb 
unable to fly: they moult their wing feathers, probably at stated vm/' 
periods, though not, I should think, every year. This sandy projection 
was named Swan Point. 

On steering southward from thence, I found that the bight in 
which this great number of birds had assembled, was full of shoals 
producing the long aquatic grass which forms the principal part, if 
it be not their sole food. We sailed through the flock, and might 
have procured a good number, had not the progress of the sloop 
obliged us to hasten onward to Shoal Point : one incautious bird was 
caught by his long neck as we sailed past him. 

The change in the direction of the river, from south-east to south, 
made the extension of a new base necessary- From the end of 
Shoal Point, I ran thirty-two chains westward, across a small stream 
of fresh water ; and having taken the necessary angles, returned to 
the sloop, which had then anchored at half a mile from the points 
in 4 fathoms. The shoal was dry in the evening, within two cables 
length of the vessel, and rendered the fresh stream inaccessible to a 

The time of our absence from Port Jackson being restricted to the 
beginning of January , I did not think it advisable to take the sloop any 
further up the river; but determined, after devoting one day more 
to an excursion in the boat, to return and proceed along the north 
coast of Van Diemen's Land, in prosecution of the main object of 
the voyage. 

Nov. 11, Mr. Bass landed near Shoal Point, to go as far back into 
the country as the limited time would permit. I steered from thence 
over to a red bank on the east side of the river, measured a base of 
seventy nine chains, and took angles from a variety of stations. At 
the Crescent Shore, the river was contracted to a quarter of a mile in 
width, the water was half fresh, and the depth across as follows : 
1 i> 8> 5j 8, 8j, 1 9 j, 1 1, 6, 4 fathoms at half flood. 

Digitized by 


•lviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flindmw The direction of the river, from where the sloop was lying to this 
^ms?' part, is nearly S. S. W. ; but it then winds round the Crescent Shore, 
and runs E. S. E. My uppermost station was upon a hill near the 
water side, at the commencement of this new reach ; and from 
thence the river appeared, at the distance of a mile and a half, to re- 
open out its banks, and to turn more southward. In an eastern 
direction, across the wide part, there were three ridges of hills, 
and beyond them some blue peaks and caps of distant mountains, 
which I judged to be the same we had seen from Cape Portland ; and 
amongst which the source, or some of the sources of this river most 
probably arose. The distance of these mountains concurred with 
the strength of the tides and the depth of water to indicate, that, 
at the Crescent Shore, the larger half of the river still remained to 
be explored.* 

The morning of Nov. i£ was foggy and calm. We rowed the 
sloop down with the assistance of the ebb tide, to Round-head Bay, 
and anchored in gi fathoms. At high water, the anchor was again 
weighed ; and at dusk, having had a breeze, we reached the five- 
fathom bank in Long Reach, near Watering Cove. From the upper 
end of Whirlpool Reach to Point Rapid, I went a-head in the boat 
and examined all the creeks and gullies on the western shore, for 
watering places. There were drains of fresh water down some of 
these, but in none, not even in Glen Bight, was there any accessible 
to boats, 

Nov. 13, we beat down with die ebb tide to Middle Island, and 
then steered across the basin for the Middle Arm, which was yet 
totally unexplored ; but after many ineffectual attempts to find a 
passage over the shoals, we came to, in 5 fathoms, near the Shag 
Rocks, and I went to examine the arm with the boat. From 

* The chart will shew from later examinations, how far the river is navigable, and 
whence its different sources are derived* 

Digitized by 


East Coast, Sf V.D.'sLand.] INTRODUCTION. clix 

Inspection Head I discovered a narrow channel leading into it, where Flhidie^ 
there was more than sufficient depth for ships; but this arm is 179 £*' 
altogether of little consequence. 

In the evening, it blew a gale of wind from the north-westward, 
with hail and rain ; and the same weather continuing next day, I 
employed the time in examining Sea Reach. On the 15th, some- 
what finer weather enabled us to get down to Outer Cove, a place 
opposite to Green Island, where there is room for a larger vessel than 
the Norfolk to ride at single anchor, in 8 fathoms. The head of the 
cove is shoal, and the stream that falls into it is salt to a greater dis- 
tance than a boat can go; nor could any accessible fresh water be 
found in the neighbourhood. Middle Rock, so named from its situ- 
ation in the deep channel between the cove and Green Island, is 
hidden at half flood. Fine muscles were gathered from it, many of 
them containing small, discoloured pearls, such as are found in those 
of Adventure Bay. 

From this time to the 20th, the western winds continued to blow 
strong ; and finding, after an ineffectual attempt, thatjt was impos- 
sible to make any progress in the voyage, we remained in port, 
taking astronomical observations, completing the survey, and ex- 
amining the country, ontil a favourable change should take place. 
At the back of the longest beach near Low Head, and on the same 
side, I found a deep pool of tolerably good water, at which our casks 
were again replenished ; and when the boat was not employed in 
this, or other services, the people were sent swan hunting, and never 
without success. 

Nov. 90. The wind having become moderate at north-west, we 
beat out of the port with the ebb tide ; and at one ^. m., took a de- 
parture from Low Head. The breeze had then veered to E. N. E. ; 
and when we had run nine leagues, a head on the west side of the 
port bore S. 53* E., and the furthest visible part of the coast was at 
west: being then dusk, the wind was hauled offshore. 

We had rainy weather in the night, and the wind shifted back to 

Digitized by 


clx INTRODUCTION. \Prwr Discoveries. 

FnHDBii W. N. W., and blew a fresh gale. This soon raised a high sea, and 
"170a!*" reduced us to a close-reefed main sail and jib ; nor were we without 
apprehensions of the shore for the following night, so much did the 
sloop drive to leeward. On the ssnd at noon the gale was more 
moderate, the wind at W. by S., and the weather permitted an obser- 
vation to be taken for the latitude ; it was 40 13', and we had land 
bearing E. N. £. about three leagues distant. So soon as I had satis- 
fied myself that this could be no other than the hilly land lying five 
leagues to the northward of the Chappell Isles, we bore away before 
the sea ; and by carrying all sail, secured an anchorage in Hamilton's 
Road before dark. 

It was not safe to move on the 23rd, and there being a lunar 
eclipse announced in the ephemeris to take place in the following 
night, I landed to observe it with the telescope of the sextant. The 
times at which the beginning and end happened by the watch, being 
corrected from altitudes of the stars Rigel and Sirius observed in an 
artificial horizon, gave 148 37^ for the uncorrected longitude of 
Preservation Island ; which is 3/ more than was deduced from 
the lunar distances in the Francis. The penumbra attending the 
earth's shadow is usually supposed to render this observation uncer- 
tain to two or three minutes of time, or more than half a degree of 

Nov. 24. The gale had subsided to a moderate breeze, and we 
tried to beat back to the westward; but finding too much sea, bore 
away into Armstrong's Channel to speak the commander of the 
Nautilus ; that, through him, governor Hunter might be informed 
of our discoveries thus far, and of the delays experienced from the 
western winds.^ I was happy to find captain Bishop proceeding suc- 
cessfully in his sealing business, though slower than he might have 
done, had the anchorage been nearer to the eastern points.* 

* Nine thousand skins of the first quality, with several tons of oil, were procured by the 
Nautilus, and Furneaux's Islands have since been frequented by small vessels from Port 
Jackson upon the same errand* Unfortunately, this species of fishery is soon exhausted in 

Digitized by 


East Coast, QV.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION, clxi 

In the evening it fell calm, and the tide being favourable, we Flindbm 
rowed back for Hamilton's Road; but a fair breeze springing up an 17 Sf* # 
when abreast of it, instead of anchoring we made all sail to the west- 
south-west for Van Diemen's Land. 

On the 25th at day-light, the Ninth Island bore south, five miles ; 
the wind had then shifted to N. by W., and blew strong, with rainy 
weather ; and at eight o'clock, it was at N. W. by W., and obliged 
us to tack offshore. This gale cleared away on the s6th, and at 
noon our situation was in , 

Latitude 40 34^ S. 

Mount Chappell bore - N. E. 

Peak of Cape Barren, - N. 78 E. . 

Land taken for Isle Waterhouse, S. 7 E. 
We were then steering south-westward again with a fair breeze ; but 
had scarcely passed Stony Head, next morning, when another gale 
sprung up from the north-west. It was a happy circumstance that 
we were able to reach our new discovered port, and take refuge at 
the former secure anchorage near the Shag Rocks ; for this gale was 
more violent and of longer continuance than any of the preceding. 
This long succession of adverse winds caused us almost to despair of 
accomplishing the principal object of the voyage ; for of the twelve 
weeks, to which our absence from Port Packson was limited, nearly 
eight were already expired. 

Dec. 2. The gale moderated, and we made an attempt to continue 
the voyage, but were driven back. On the 3rd, the attempt was 
repeated ; and the wind being light, we anchored at the entrance of 
the port, to prevent losing by the flood what had been gained by the 
ebb tide. In the evening a fair wind sprung up ; and at length, to 
our great satisfaction, we were enabled to proceed in the discovery 
of the strait. 
The harbour, which we entered with so much pleasure on Nov. 3, 

any ope place ; or it would have been the means of raising up an useful body of seamen, 
and thus proved of advantage, both to the colony and to the mother country. 
VOL. I. Y 

Digitized by 


clxii INTRODUCTION. {Prior Di$co«erie$. 

Flikdbis and finally quitted with still more on Dec. g, was named Port Dal- 
1798. 88 ' Rymple, by His Excellency governor Hunter, as a mark of respect 
to Alexander Dalrymple, Esq., the late hydrographer to the Admi- 
ralty. The following is a summary of the observations taken there, 
for fixing the position of Low Head, on the east side of the en- 

Latitude from six meridian altitudes, of which three 
were taken in port, and three at sea within sight * , „ 
of Low Head - - — - 41 3 30 S» 

Longitude fronrtwo sets of distances of the sun east, 
and two west of the moon, with Troughton's nine 
inch sextant No. 951, corrected for the errors of 
the lunar and solar tables « - 146 43 45 E* 

From two d°. d°. with a five-inch sextant of Adams 146 5a 46 

Mean from sun and moon 146 48 15 E. 

From one set of a star east, and one west of the moon, 

with No. 951 - 146 59 54 

From two ditto, ditto, with the five-inch - 14/8 56 50 

Mean from stars and moon 146 54 42 

Mean of all 146 51 28 E.* 

Variation of the theodolite, observed on the shore 
of Outer Cove * - - - - 728 east 

D°. of the azimuth compass, observed in the same 
place, - - - 8 30 

D°. of the same, taken at anchor off the port, the 
sloop's head being N. by E. (magnetic), - 7 44 

The time of high water in Port Dalrymple, is one quarter of an 

+ The longitude of Low- Head, deduced from the Investigator's time keepers, combined 
with my surveys in the Francis and Norfolk, is 146* 47£' east; as the observations with 
the large sextant, No. 251, taken alone, would give it very nearly. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, Sf V. D.'s Land! INTRODUCTION. clxiii 

hour before the moon passes over the meridian; and the rise of tide is Flinders 
from six to eight, or it is said to ten, feet. The ebb sets out seven ^y^ 8 ' 
hours; and both ebb and flood run with much rapidity in the narrow 
parts, but the particular rate was not ascertained. 

Port Dalrymple and the River Tamar* occupy the bottom of a 
valley betwixt two irregular chains of hills, which shoot off north- 
westward, from the great body of inland mountains. In some places, 
these hills stand wide apart, and the river then opens its banks to a 
considerable extent ; in others, they nearly meet, and contract its 
bed to narrow limits. The Tamar has, indeed, more the appearance 
of a chain of lakes, than of a regularly-formed river ; and such it 
probably was, until, by long undermining, assisted perhaps by some 
unusual weight of water, a communicating channel was formed, and 
a passage forced out to sea. From the shoals in Sea Reach, and 
more particularly from those at Green Island which turn the whole 
force of the tides, one is led to suppose, that the period when the 
passage to sea was forced has not been very remote. 

Of the two chains of hills which bound the valley, the eastern one 
terminates at Low Head ; the other comes down to the sea, five or 
six miles from it, on the west side of the port. The ends of these 
chains, when seen from directly off the entrance, appear as two 
clusters of hills having some resemblance to each other ; and in fine 
weather, the distant blue heads of the back mountains will be seen 
over the tops of both clusters. These appearances, joined to the 

* So named by the late lieut. colonel Paterson, who was sent from Port Jackson to 
settle a new colony there, in 1S04. The sources of the river were then explored, and the 
new names applied which are given in the chart. The first town established was York- v 

town at the bead of the Western Arm, but this proving inconvenient as a sea port, it was 
proposed to be removed lower down, near Green Island. Launeeston, which is intended 
to be the capital of the new colony, is fixed at the junction of the North and South Esks, 
up to which the Tamar is navigable for vessels of 150 tons. The tide reaches nine or ten 
miles up the North Esk, and the produce of the farms within that distance may be sent 
down the river by boats; but the South Esk descends from the mountains by a cataract, 
directly into the Tamar, and, consequently, is not accessible to navigation of any kind* 

Digitized by 


clxiv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flinmrs latitude and longitude; are the best distant marks for finding Port 
"irw. 8 *" Dalrymple. If a ship come along shore from the eastward, the Ninth 
Island, and afterward Stony Head with the Tenth Islet lying three or 
four miles to the north-west, will announce the vicinity of the port ; 
and Low Head will be perceived in the bight to the S. S. W., but it 
is not a conspicuous object. 

Three or four leagues to the westward of the port, the back land 
is uncommonly high, and the top of the ridge is intersected into 
uncouth shapes. From the brilliancy of some of these mountains, 
on the appearance of the sun after rain, I judged them to be of 
granite, like those of Furneaux's Islands. These mountains, with 
the direction of the coast and what has been said of the clusters of 
hills, may serve as marks for Port Dalrymple to ships coming along 
shore from the westward. 

Reefs and banks extend out to a considerable distance on the west 
side of the entrance ; so that strangers should avoid that side, and 
endeavour to come in with Low Head. The greater part of these 
shoals, as also of those in Sea Reach, are covered at half tide; 
therefore the first of the flood, or even a little before, is the best 
time to enter Port Dalrymple, as almost the whole of the dangers 
are then visible. A signal post, with pilots, was fixed at Low Head 
on the settlement of the new colony in 1804, and beacons have since 
been placed on the most dangerous rocks and shoals ; it has there- 
fore become unnecessary to give particular instructions for sailing 
up the port, especially as they may be found in my Observations on 
the coasts of Van Diemen's Land, &c; a little memoir published by 
Mr. Arrowsmith, in 1801.* 

We found Port Dalrymple to be an excellent place for refresh- 

* In Mr. Horsburgh's Sailing Directions, Sfc. Part II., are given, upon my friend 
captain Kent's authority, notices of the beacons laid down, and directions respecting them ; 
to which I add, from the information of lieut. Oxley, that a rock, on which H. M. ship 
Porpoise struck, lies W.fN. by compass, one cable's length from Point Roundabout. There 
is no more than four feet upon it at low water, but it may be safely passed on either aide* 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $V.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxv 

ment. Out of the flocks of black swans, from one-fifth to one- Flindbrs 

and Bass, 

tenth of them were unable to fly ; and since the same thing has 1798. 
been found to obtain in the months of January and May, as well as 
in October, it is probably so at all times of the year. These birds are 
endowed with a considerable portion of sagacity : they cannot dive, 
but have a method of immersing themselves so deep in the water, 
as to render their bodies nearly invisible, and thus frequently to avoid 
detection. In chase, their plan was to gain the wind upon our little 
boat ; and they usually succeeded when the breeze was strong, and 
sometimes escaped from our shot also. 

Kanguroos appeared to be rather numerous in this part of Van 
Diemen's Land ; but as they were shy, and we had little time or 
necessity to go after them, one only was procured ; it was of the 
large, forest kind, and the flesh was thought superior to that of 
the same animal at Port Jackson. 

Dudes and teal went by flocks in Port Dalrymple ; but they were 
shy, and we took no trouble after them. The white-bellied shag, 
and the black and pied red bills were common in the lower parts of 
the port, and some pelicans were seen upon the shoals. The large 
black shag, usually found in rivers, was seen in different parts of 
the Tamar ; and upon another occasion, we found these birds to be 
tolerable food. 

Neither our wants nor leisure were sufficient to induce any 
attempt to catch fish. Muscles were abundant upon those rocks 
which are overflowed by the tide ; and the natives appeared to get 
oysters by diving, the shells having been found near their fire places. 

The country round Port Dalrymple has, in general, a pleasing 
and fertile appearance ; nor did examination prove it to be deceitful. 
But this subject, and what concerns the natives, came more particu- 
larly within the department of Mr. Bass; and his observations upon 
them having been published, I proceed to the continuation of the 

Dec. 3, in the evening, the Norfolk was lying at anchor off the 

Digitized by 


clrvi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flinders entrance of the port, when a breeze sprung up from the north-east- 
an i798"' ward, and enabled us to proceed along the coast. At dusk, Low 
Head bore S. 77 E. six miles, and we then hauled off for the night. 
The shore on the west side of Port Dalrymple falls back to the 
southward and forms a bight under the high land, where it is pos- 
sible there may be some small opening ; for the haziness of the 
weather did not allow the coast line to be distinctly traced. Upon the 
back mountains are many variously-shaped tops, of which the east- 
ternmost bore S. 5 E., and a flat one towards the other end of the 
ridge, S. 38 W. The furthest land which could be seen was a 
round hill, making like an island, and bore very nearly west from 
the mast head. 

Dec. 4. We resumed our course westward, but the wind being at 
N.N.E., did not dare to approach very near the shore. At noon, 
the observed latitude was 40 58', and the hills on the west side of 
Port Dalrymple bore S. 6g E. five or six leagues. From thence to 
S. 38* W., where another chain of hills came down to the sea, the 
country is well wooded, and lies in hills and vallies. The Round Hill 
bore S. 65 W. five or six leagues, and in the evening, when three 
leagues distant, the low land connecting it with the main was visible. 
During the night, and next day, Dec. 5, the winds were light and 
variable, so that we made little progress. At noon, the furthest 
land seen to the westward appeared like a small flat-topped island, 
but being found to be connected with the main land, received the 
descriptive name of Circular Head; a nearer projection, of a jagged 
appearance, was called Rocfy Cape, and a steep cliffy head still nearer, 
Table Cape, from its flat top. Our situation was then as under ; 

Latitude observed, - 40 56? S. 

Round Hill, distant three leagues, - S. 22 E. 

Table Cape, north extreme, - - N. 88 W. 

Rocky Cape, highest knob, - - N. 77 W, 

Circular Head - - - N.71 W. 

A flat-topped peak, inland, - - S. 14 W f 

Digitized by 


Ea*t Coast, $V.D:$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxvii 

The sandy shore abreast was seven or eight miles distant, and be- f«wmrs 

J ° and Bass. 

hind it the land was low, but tolerably well covered with wood. 1798. 
The sole remarkable object inland, was the flat-topped peak, which 
had very much the appearance of an extinguished volcano. From 
after bearings, it was found to lie S, i° E. eleven leagues from 
Table Cape ; and in that direction its top assumes the form of a 
pointed cone. ^ 

In the morning of Dec. 6, our situation was N. 8° E. four miles 
from the cliffy, north-east end of Table Cape, and the Round Hill 
bore S. 41 E. Having a favourable breeze, we passed, at eight o'clock, 
within half a mile of the reef which surrounds Rocky Cape, and 
steered onward for Circular Head, which as yet was the furthest 
visible land. 

Table Cape, Rocky Cape, and Circular Head lie nearly in a line 
of N. 62 W., and are about ten miles apart from each other. Be- 
tween these, the coast forms two shallow bights ; the shore of the 
first is mostly rocky, and an islet lies in the middle ; the western 
bight is sandy, and - promises better anchorage, particularly near 
Circular Head, where a vessel may be sheltered against all winds 
from the western half of the compass. The land at the back of the 
shore, from Table Cape westward, is of a different description to 
that before passed : instead of having an extensive view over a 
variegated, and well wooded country, the sight was there confined 
by a ridge of stony hills, of which Rocky Cape is no more than a 
projecting part. 

Circular Head is a cliffy, round lump, in form much resembling a 
Christmas cake ; and is joined to the main by a low, sandy isthmus. 
The land at the back is somewhat lower than the head, and is formed 
into very gentle slopes. A slight covering of withered grass gave it 
a smooth appearance ; and some green bushes scattered over it much 
resembled, at a distance, a herd of seals basking upon a rock. 

We passed Circular Head at ten, and three hummocks of land then 
came in sight to the north-westward, the southernmost and highest 

Digitized by 


elxviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

JjJ™ 1 " having something of a sugar-loaf form. Between these hills and the 

1798- smooth land to the west of Circular Head, there was a large bight, 

in which some patches of land were indistinctly visible through the 

haze ; but as the wind was then blowing directly into the bight, the 

fear of getting embayed prevented its examination. Our position at 

noon was as follows : 

• # 
Latitude observed, - - - 40 39^ S. 

Circular Head, distant seven miles, - S. 17 E. 

West extreme of the smooth land behind it, S. 6 W. 

Sugar-loaf hummock, - - - N. 55 W. 

Northernmost hummock, - N. 42 W. 

From the time of leaving Port Dalrymple no tide had been 

observed, until this morning. It ran with us, and continued until 

three o'clock; at which time low land was seen beyond the 

three hummocks. This trending of the coast so far to the north 

made me apprehend, that it might be found to join the land 

near Western Port, and thus disappoint our hopes of discovering 

an open passage to the westward ; the water was also discoloured, 

as if we were approaching the head of a bay, rather than the issue of 

a strait; and on sounding, we had 17, and afterwards 15 fathoms on 

a sandy bottom. 

The wind having become light and the tide turned to the east- 
ward, our situation at dusk was little altered from what it had been 
at three o'clock ; but from the clearing away of the haze, the lands 
in the great bight had become more distinguishable, and the follow- 
ing bearings were taken : 

Table Cape, distant 11. or ia leagues, - - S. 43J- E. 
Circular Head, - - S. 26 E. 

Sugar-loaf hummock, - - N. 75 W. 

Extreme of the three-hummock land, - N. 48 W. 
Low point in the great bight, with a cliffy 

head at a further distance behind it, - S. 70 W. 
The cliffs visible behind the low point had every appearance of being 

Digitized by 


East Coa$t,$V.D:* Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxix 

the north head of an opening, but of what kind, our distance was too Flinders 

, * and Bass* 

great to determine.* 17 98. 

During the night and next day, Dec. 7, the wind was variable, with 
alternate calms. The latitude at noon was 40 28', and the sugar- 
loaf hill bore W. by S. ten miles. On the 8th a breeze sprung up 
from the south-westward, and threatened a gale from that boisterous 
quarter. We were in 40* 23' at noon, and trying to work up to the 
land of the three hummocks, to prevent losing ground ; and at six 
in the evening, got to an anchor in a quarter less 4 fathoms, in a 
small sandy bight under the northern hummock, being sheltered 
from N. 2 E., round by the west to S. 30 E. Circular Head was 
still visible, bearing S. 35 E. ; and the difference of longitude 
made from Port Dalrymple was calculated at i^°, subject to future 

Mr. Bass and myself landed immediately to examine the country 
and the coast, and to see what food could be procured ; for the long 
detention by foul winds had obliged me to make a reduction in 
the provisions, lest the object of our voyage and return to Port 
Jackson should not be accomplished in the twelve weeks for which we 
were victualled. • At dusk, we returned on board, having had little 
success as to any of the objects proposed ; but with the knowledge 
of a fact, from which an interesting deduction was drawn : the tide 
had been running from the eastward all the afternoon, and contrary 
to expectation, we found it to be near low water by the shore ; the * 
flood, therefore, came from the west, and not from the eastward, as 
at Furneaux's Isles. This we considered to be a strong proof, not 
only of the real existence of a passage betwixt this land and New 
South Wales, but also that the entrance into the Southern Indian 
Ocean could not be far distant. 

•In 1804, Mr. Charles Bobbins, acting lieutenant of His Majesty's ship Buffalo, 
was sent from Port Jackson to examine this great bight ; and from his sketch it is, 
that the unshaded coast and soundings written at right angles are laid down in th* 

VQL. I. 7 

Digitized by 


clxx INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flindihs The little time there was for examining the coast, confined my ob- 
i7»8. servations to what were necessary for giving it the formation it has in 
the chart. The country is hilly, and Mr. Bass found it impenetrable 
from the closeness of the tall brush wood, although it had been par- 
tially burnt not long before. There was very little soil spread over 
the rock and sand, and the general aspect was that of sterility. 
Several deserted fire places, strewed round with the shells of the sea 
ear, were found upon the shore. 

The south-west wind died away in the night ; and at six next 
morning, Dec. 9, we got under way with a light air at south-east. 
After rounding the north-east point of the three-hummock land, our 
course westward was pursued along its north side. 

A large flock of gannets was observed at daylight, to issue out of 
the great bight to the southward ; and they were followed by such a 
number of the sooty petrels as we had never seen equalled. There 
was a stream of from fifty to eighty yards in depth, and of three hun- 
dred yards, or more, in breadth ; the birds were not scattered, but 
flying as compactly as a free movement of their wings seemed to 
allow ; and during a full hour and a half, this stream of petrels con- 
tinued to pass without interruption, at a rate little inferior to the 
swiftness of the pigeon, On the lowest computation, I think the 
number could not have been less than a hundred millions ; and we 
were thence led td believe, that there must be, in the large bight, 
one or more uninhabited islands of considerable size.* 

From the north-east point of the three-hummock land, the shore 
trended W. i # N. three miles ; then S. 39 W. four miles, to a rocky 
point, forming the south-west extremity of what was then ascer- 
tained to be Three-hummock Island. The channel which separates 

• Taking the stream to have been fifty yards deep by three hundred in width, and that 
it moved at the rate of thirty miles an hour, and allowing nine cubic yards of space to 
each bird, the number would amount to 151,500,000. The burrows required to lodge 
this quantity of birds would be 75,750,000 ; and allowing a square yard to each burrow, 
they would cover something more than 18f geographic square miles of ground. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, Sf V. D.$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. dm 

it from the land to the west, is, at least, two miles in width, and is Fuwmm 

7 ' and Bass. 

deep ; so that it was difficult to conjecture how the Indians were able i?*8. 
to get over to the island. It was almost certain that they had no 
canoes at Port Dalrymple, nor any means of reaching islands lying 
not more than two cables length from the shore ; and it therefore 
. seemed improbable that they should possess canoes here. The small 
size of Three-hummock Island rendered the idea of fixed inhabitants 
inadmissible ; and whichever way it was considered, the presence of 
men there was a problem difficult to be resolved.* 

The coast on the west side of the channel lies nearly south, and rises 
in height as it advances towards the cliffy head, set on the 6th p. m. 
The north end of this land is a sloping, rocky point ; and the first pro- 
jection which opened round it, was at S. 3& # W., five or six miles. Be- 
yond this there was nothing like main land to be seen ; indeed, this 
western land itself had very little the appearance of being such, either 
in its form, or in its poor, starved vegetation. So soon as we had 
passed the north sloping point, a long swell was perceived to come 
from the south-west, such as we had not been accustomed to for some 
time. It broke heavily upon a small reef, lying a mile and a half from 
the point, and upon all the western shores ; but, although it was likely 
to prove troublesome, and perhaps dangerous, Mr. Bass and myself 
hailed it with joy and mutual congratulation, as announcing the com- 
pletion of our long-wished-for discovery of a passage into the South- 
ern Indian Ocean. 

We had a fine breeze at east ; and our course was directed for a 
small, rocky island which lies W. £ N. 6 miles from the north point 
of the barren land. This island appeared to be almost white with 
birds ; and so much excited our curiosity and hope of procuring a 

* Future visitants to these islands have seen the Indians passing over in bodies, by 
swimming, ai.niiar to those whom Dampier saw on the north-west coast of New Hol- 
land. Why the natives of Port Dalrymple should not have had recourse to the same 
expedient, where the distance to be traversed is s* much less, seems incomprehensible. 

Digitized by 


clxxii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Fltwdbm supply of food, that Mr. Bass went on shore in the boat whilst 

and Bass. " ' 

1798- ' I stood off and on, waiting his return. No land could be seen to the 
northward, and the furthest clearly distinguishable in the opposite 
direction was a steep island at the distance of four leagues. The 
observations taken at noon were, 

Latitude, - - 40 23^ S. 

The bird island, distant two miles, - S. 16 to 64 E. 

Three-hummock Island, the sugar loaf, S. 64 E. 

Steep-head Island - - S. 9 E. 

Mr. Bass returned at half past two, with a boat load of seals and 
albatrosses. He had been obliged to fight his way up the cliffs of 
the island with the seals, and when arrived at the top, to make a 
road with his clubs amongst the albatrosses. These birds were sit- 
ting upon their nests, and almost covered the surface of the ground, 
nor di d they any otherwise derange themselves for the new visitors, 
than to peck at their legs as they passed by. This species of albatross 
is white on the neck and breast, partly brown on the back and wings, 
and its size is less than many others met with at sea, particularly in 
the high southern latitudes. The seals were of the usual size, and 
bore a reddish fur, much inferior in quality to that of the seals at 
Furneaux's Islands. 

Albatross Island, for so it was named, is near two miles in length, 
and sufficiently high to be seen five or six leagues from a ship's 
deck : its shores are mostly steep cliffs. The latitude is 40 3^, and 
longitude made by the running survey, 2 7' west of Port Dalrymple ; 
but it afterwards appeared from the Investigator's time keepers, to 
lie in 1 44 41' east of Greenwich. 

The tide (apparently the ebb) had set so strong to the south- 
westward, that notwithstanding our efforts to keep up with the 
island, it was distant five miles when Mr. Bass returned and the boat 
was hoisted in. A black lump of rock was then seen three or four 
leagues to the south-westward, and the following bearings were 
taken just before making sail. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $V.D:s Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxriii 

• O 

Albatross Island, - - N. 75 tO 80 E. Flinders 

Steep-head Island, - - S. 31 *E. ir9 £ 

Black, pyramidal rock, - • S. 59 W. 

We kept close to the wind at north-east, in order to fetch Steep- 
head Island ; but were carried so far to leeward by the tide, that 
soon after four o'clock our situation was as follows : 

Albatross Island, - - - N. 18 E. 

Sugar-loaf hummock, - - N. 71 E. 

Western part of the barren land, - N. 61 E. 

Steep-head Island, centre, - S. 71 E. 

Black, pyramidal rock, - - N. 77 W. 

High black rock, dist. 2 miles, having breakers 
to the south-westward, - - S. 18 E. 

Besides these islands and rocks, we passed another cliffy island four 
or five miles to the south of Steep-head, and to which I gave the 
name of Trefoil Island, its form appearing to be nearly that of a 
clover leaf; there were, also, several others of less importance, 
mostly lying near the barren land. The steep south end of this 
land was set over the north end of Trefoil at N. 65 E. ; and beiijg 
almost assured of its separation from Van Diemen's Land, I added 
it, under the name of Barren Island, to the rest of this cluster ; and 
in honour of His Excellency, the governor of New South Wales, I 
gave to the whole the title of Hunter's Isles. 

The north-west cape of Van Diemen's Land, or island, as it might 
now be termed, is a steep, black head, which, from its appearance, 
I call Cape Grim. It lies nearly due south, four miles, from the 
centre of Trefoil, in latitude 40 44' ; the longitude will be 144 43' 
east, according to the position of Albatross Island made in the Inves- 
tigator. There are two rocks close to Cape Grim, of the same 
description with itself. On the north side of the cape, the shore is a 
low, sandy beach, and trends north-eastward, three or four miles ; 
but whether there be a sufficient depth for ships to pass between it 
and Barren Island, has not, I believe, been yet ascertained. To the 

Digitized by 


cboriv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Fundbm south of the cape, the black cliffs extend seven or eight miles, when 
"irw. 88 * the shore falls back, eastward, to a sandy bay, of which little could 
be perceived. 

Our situation at dusk, was three miles from the cliffs, with Cape 
Grim bearing N. i8 # E. The furthest land, beyond the sandy bay, 
bore S. 4 E. four or five leagues, and proved to be near the western- 
most point of Van Diemen's Land. The wind being strong at 
E. N. E. and the night dark and tempestuous, we kept as much under 
the land as possible; but found ourselves in the morning, Dec. 10, to 
be driven far to the south-westward. At eight o'clock, the wind 
hating moderated, we made sail, S. E. ~ E. ; and at noon, were in 
the following situation. , 

Latitude observed, - - - 41 13^ S. 

Sandy west Pt. of V. D. Land, dist. 10 m. N. 10 W. 
Furthest extreme, a low point, - S. 22 E. 

An inland mount, - - S. 53 E. 

The nearest part of the coast was between two and three miles dis- 
tant, and consisted of sandy beaches, separated by points which had 
many straggling rocks lying off them. At the back of the shore, 
the land was low for two or three miles, and then rose gently to a 
ridge of barren, low hills. The inland mount, set at S. 53 E., 
appeared to be the north end of a second chain, much higher, and 
better wooded, than the front ridge : it lies eight miles back from 
the shore, and is named Mount Norfolk, after my little vessel. 

After obtaining the noon's observation and bearings, we steered 
southward along the shore; and at six o'clock, had passed five 
leagues of the same kind of coast as before described ; but the wind 
then flew round to W. N. W., and made it necessary to haul further 
off. At 6^.30', 

Mount Norfolk bore - - - N. 56 E. 

Low, rocky projection, distant four miles, - x N. 35 E. 
Distant mount, at the southern end of the back ridge, 

and the furthest land in sight, - - S. 42 E. 

Digitized by 


East Ctmt,SfV.D:s Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxxv 

Dec. 11. Before five o'clock, we came in with the land a few Flindbm 
miles from where it had been quitted in the evening. . 1793. # 

Mount Norfolk then bore *• N. 27 E. 

Low, rocky projection, dist. three leagues, N. 12 W. 
Two conic rocks, at the southern extreme, S. 42 E. 
The wind was moderate at north-west, and we bore away along the 
shore, which was distant four miles, and much similar to that of the 
preceding day ; but it had no scattered rocks lying in front. Behind 
some low cliffs, passed at seven o'clock, was perceived a small 
opening like a river, whose course seemed to run northward, be- 
tween the front and back ridges of hills : a smoke, which arose from 
the inner side of the opening, was the first seen upon this west 
coast. I steered a short time for the entrance ; but seeing rocks in 
it, and the wind coming more on shore, hauled off south, to increase 
our distance. 

Two miles from the opening are the conic, and several low rocks, 
which were passed at the distance of one mile and a half. At ten, 
we kept two points more away, having gained an offing of seven 
miles ; and at noon had, • / . 

Latitude observed, - - - 42 2^ S. 

Furthest extreme of the coast, - - S. S. E. 

Mount at the southern end of the back ridge, N. 42 E. 

A peaked hill, four miles E. S. E. from it, - N. 60 E. 
The two last appear t<? have been the smaller mountains seen by Tas- 
man to the north-east, on his discovering this land Nov. 24, 1642 ; an£ 
I have therefore named the first Mount Heemskerk, and the latter 
Mount Zeehaan, after his two ships. The back ridge of woody hills 
does not terminate here; but it retreats further inland, and as far as 
could be perceived through the haze, rises in height to the south- 
ward. The extreme of the coast, which bore S. S. E., forms the 
southern point of a sandy, and rather deep bight, where I thought it 
probable there might be some small opening; but as the wind blew 

Digitized by 


clxxvi INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flihdbm strong directly into it, there was too much danger in bearing away 

and Bass. r « • .. 

1798, * or i ts examination. 

At three o'clock, we passed the southern point of the bight* 
at the distance of four miles ; and the coast then again trended 
S. S. E., waving in rocky bights and projections. The land here 
rises by a gentle ascent for two or three miles from the shore; its 
appearance was smooth and uniform ; but it was destitute of wood, 
and almost of other vegetation : the back mountains were obscured 
by the haze. 

The heavy south-west swell, which had met us at the entrance of 
the Indian Ocean, still continued to roll in, and set dead upon this 
coast ; and the wind blew fresh at W. N. W. Under these circum- 
stances, we looked out for some little beach, where, in case of 
necessity, the sloop might be run on shore with a prospect of safety 
to our lives ; for should the wind come three or four points further 
forward, there was no probability of clearing the land on either tack. 
No such beach could, however, be discovered; and we therefore 
carried all possible sail to get past this dreary coast. A remarkable 
pyramid came in sight in the evening ; at eight o'clock it was 
distant five miles to the east, and seen to be a rock on the north side 
of a point, which projects two or three miles from the coast line. 
- This point, named Point Hibbs after the colonial master of the Nor- 
folk, is higher than the neck by which it is joined to the back land; 
and from thence, it appears to have been taken fpr an island by 
Tasman ; for I consider Point Hibbs and the pyramid to be the two 
islands laid down by him, in 42* 35': their latitude, by our run from 
noon, is 4a 39'. 

We hauled off, upon a wind, at eight o'clock ; and at four next 
morning, Dec. 1 2, came in again with the same land. * At five, when 
our course was resumed along shore, Point Hibbs was distant two 
or three miles, and the pyramid, which bore N. 31* E. over its extre- 
mity, then appeared like the crown of a hat. The coast to th§ 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $jrD:s Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxxvii 

southward is more irregular in its trending, is of somewhat greater Fundees 
elevation, and not so destitute of wood as on the north side of the 1793. # 
point. At the distahce of three leagues we passed a cliffy head, 
with high rocks lying a mile from it; and two leagues further, there 
were some patches of breakers two miles off the shore: the general 
trending was between S. by E. and S. S. E. 

At ten o'clock, a projection which merited the name of Rocky Point 
bore S. 74°E., five miles ; and here the direction of the coast was 
changed to east, for near seven miles, when it formed a bight by 
again trending south-eastward. The shore round the bight is high, 
and at the back were several bare peaks which, from their whiteness, 
might have been thought to be covered with snow ; but their greatest . 
elevation of perhaps 1900 feet, combined with the height of the 
thermometer at <>»•, did not admit the supposition. These peaks 
are probably what Tasman named De Witt's Isles, from his distance 
having been too far off to distinguish the connecting land ; and I 
therefore called the highest of them, lying in 43° 9^ south, Mount 
De Witt. 

This morning, two sets of distances of the sun west of the moon 
were observed, and our situation at noon was as follows : 

Latitude, - - - - - 43 7 S. 

Longitude from the lunar observations, - 145 16 E. 

Rocky Point, distant six or seven miles, - N. g W. 

Mount De Witt, - - - S. 77 E. 

Highest of two smaller hills, at the S. extreme, S. gg E. 

It afterwards appeared, that these smaller hills stood upon the ex- 
tremity of a point ; and in honour of the noble admiral with whose 
victory we had become acquainted, it was named Point St. Vincent. 

The western breeze died away in the evening, and the sloop was 
drifted in by the swell, and perhaps by a tide, towards an open- 
ing round. Point St. Vincent. This opening is indicated in the small 
chart which accompanies the voyage of M. Marion, but does not 
appear to have been seen by any other navigator. Our bearings of the 

vol 1. A a 

Digitized by 


chutviii INTRODUCTION. {Prior Discoveries. 

Flinders land, at sunset, deduced from the sun's amplitude and sextant angles, 
^j^J 8, were as follow : o 

Mount De Witt, - - . - N. 18 E. 

Point St. Vincent, distant five miles, - N. 57 E. 

Steep head on the east side of the opening, dist. 8 m. N. $6 E. 

Pyramidal rock, lying off a cliffy head, - S. 46 E. 

At a further distance, and in the same bearing with the pyramidal 

rock, was a steep, jagged point, which proved to be the south-west 

cape of Van Diemen's Land. Our latitude at this time Was 43 i8j , 

the passage of the moon having allowed me to get an observation at 

four o'clock ; from whence to eight, our position had changed only 

one-and-half mile to the east. 

It remained nearly calm all night; and on the 13th, at daybreak, 
I was much surprised to find our situation near ten miles to the 
- southward, instead of being in the same place. This circumstance, 
and a breeze which arose at north, precluded me from examining 
the opening as I had intended ; for a width of three or four miles 
at the entrance, and the form of the mountains behind, made it 
probable that a considerable river discharged itself there; and 
the offset during the night strengthened the supposition. At six 

Mount De Witt bore - - North. 

Point St. Vincent, - - - N. f E. 

Steep head on the east side of the opening, N. 37 E, 

Pyramidal rock, off the cliffy head, - N. 33 E. 

South-west Cape, the extreme, - S. 8« E. 

We were then steering for the South-west Cape, and at nine I set 

Mount De Witt over k at N. 22 W., our distance from the cape being 

then about three miles. 

Seven islands and rocks were counted to the eastward, lying at 
different distances from the coast; and the wind having veered 
to west, permitted us to pass within them. At noon, the shore to 
the north being too near for the sun's altitude to be observed, its 

Digitized by 


East Coast, fV.D.'s Land.'] INTRODUCTION. clxxix 

supplement was taken to the south, and gave the latitude 43 27^. Fliudiri 
A steep head which lies N. 79 E. four or five miles from the South- an } 7 ?S 8 ' 
west Cape, then bore S. 74* W., three miles;* whence the latitude 
of the Cape should be 43 29', which is 10 less than given by captain 
Furneaux, and 8' by captain Cook. This difference naturally excited 
some suspicion of an error in the observation, and I measured the 
supplement in the same manner on the following noon, when it gave 
s' 40" less than the latitude determined by D'Entrecasteaux in Storm 
Bay. The South-west Cape is therefore placed 2' 40" further south 
than my observation gave it; that is, in latitude 43* 32/.+ The 
longitude of the Cape, from the observations taken off Rocky Point 
and brought forward by the survey, would be 145° 47'; but its 
situation in 146* 7', by captain Cook, appears to be preferable: 
D'Entrecasteaux places it in 14^° o'. 

The nearest land, at noon, was a steep head bearing N. 66° E. f 
one mile and a half; and between this, and the head which bore 
S. 74° W., the shore forms a sandy bay four miles deep, where it is 
probable there may be good anchorage, if two clumps of rock, 
which lie in the entrance, will admit of a passage in. After taking 

* This head opened round the Cape at E. 14° N., magnetic, the sloop's head being 
E. by N. ; and shut at W. 20° S., when the head was north. In the first ease I allow $£• 
east variation, and in the last, 8°; which makes them agree as nearly as can be expected 
from bearings taken under sail. 

f Captain Furneaux says (in Cook's second Voyage, Vol. I. page 109), that on March 
9, 1773, at noon, the South-west Cape bore north, four leagues; and by referring to 
the Astronomical Observations, p. 193, I find that his latitude was 43° 45f, which 
would place the Cape in 43* 33V; nevertheless the captain says it is in 43° 39^, and it is 
so laid down in bis chart. The observation by which captain Code appears to have fixed 
the South-west Cape, is that of Jan. 24, 1777, at noon; when he says, " our latitude was 
" 43° 47' south* (Third Voyage, Vol. I. p. 93). But die Astronomical Observations 
of that voyage shew (p. 101), that the observed latitude on board the Resolution was 
43*4?f; which would make the Cape in 43° 32^ south. I consulted captain* King s 
journal at the Admiralty, but found no observed latitude marked by him on that day. 

Digitized by 


clxxx INTRODUCTION. \Priar Discoveries 

Flikmm bearings of Maatsuyker's Isles and the different headlands, we bore 
1798. away eastward, and passed another deep, sandy bight, probably the 
same in which Mr. Cox anchored in 1789. At two o'clock^ the 
South-west Cape, distant 15 or 16 miles, bore W. »• S. 
A steep head at the furthest extreme, which 

proved to be the South Cape, - - S. 72 E.* 
At this time we were one mile within, or north of the largest of the 
islands ; and saw with some surprise, for it is three miles from the 
main, that its grassy vegetation had been burnt. From hence we 
steered for the easternmost isle, lying off a wide open bight in the 
coast, and afterwards hauled up for the South Cape. The wind died 
away at six o'clock, when the Cape was one mile distant ; but thick 
clouds were gathering in the south and west, and strong gusts with 
heavy rain presently succeeded. Fortunately, the squalls came from 
the westward, so that we were enabled to get further from those 
stupendous cliffs ; had they come from the south, the consequences 
. might have been fatal to the Norfolk. 

The first steep head, to the eastward of the South Cape, opened 

* The magnetic bearing of the South-west Cape was W. 5° S., and that of the Sooth 
Cape E. 15° S. The true variation I believe to have been 8°E. ; but as the sloop's head 
was at east, no more than 3° are allowed, from a system which will be hereafter explained. 
It seemed necessary to say this, because the formation of the south end of Van Diemen's 
Land in my chart, differs from that given by captain Cook, and from those of most 

In Bayly's Astronomical Observations, page 192, it appears that six sets of variations 
were observed on board the Resolution, Mar. 24, 1777* off the South Cape ; the mean 
result of which was 4° 43' east. Next morning six other sets were taken near the same 
place, and the mean variation came out 10* & east. In captain King's journal, I found 
the same observations entered, and that the ship's head was E. by N. \ N. in the first 
case, and N. W. by W. in the second. This, with the example in the Francis, page 
cxxvi, and that in the Norfolk on the preceding page, may serve to show, for the 
present, that corrections are required to the variation, according to the direction of the 
reisers head. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, %V.D\$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxxxi 

round it at E. 7*N., (allowing 4 east variation,) and a second from *"""■ 
the first, at E. 16° N., their distances asunder being each about five 1798. 
miles. It is the middlemost of these three heads which is called 
South Cape by captain Cook, as appears from the relative situations 
of his Peaked Hill and of Swilly rock ; but he had not the opportu- * 
nity of seeing the heads opening one from the other, as we had in 
die Norfolk. I make the latitude of the Cape (adding the %' 40") to 
be 43 3/, nearly as captain Furneaux did ; and as captain Cook 
would have done, had his latitude at noon been taken 43° 42^', 
according to the Astronomical Observations, instead of 42 47', as in . 
the voyage. r 

Pedra Blanca, or Swilly rock, became visible at half past seven, 
when the squalls had mostly blown oyer ; and the following bearings 
where then taken : 

South Cape, distant five miles, - - W. by N, 

East extreme of the next steep head, dist. similes, N. 14° E. 

Pedra Blanca, - - - S. 33 E. 

Distant land through the haze, - - N. 60 E. 

At nine o'clock we hauled up for D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, of 
which I had the sketch of Mr. Hayes, and stood off and on, in the 
entrance, during the night ; the wind blowing hard at west, with 
dark rainy weather. 

Dec. 14, at four in the morning, our situation was far to leeward ; 
and having no prospect of fetching into the channel, we bore away 
for Boreel's Isles, which were seen bearing N. 65 E. two leagues. 
Three of these produce some vegetation, and that of the largest had 
been partially burnt not long before. The two easternmost, called the 
Friars by captain Furneaux, are bare pyramidal rocks, and, except 
where they had been made white by the gannets, are of a black, 
weather-hearten colour : a patch of breakers lies one mile to the 
north-east from them! 

- Fluted Cape opened round Tasman's Head at N. 18* E. We passed 
these steep projections at a mile distance ; and not being able to 

Digitized by 


clxxxii INTRODUCTION. [JVtor Discoveries. 

Rihdihs fetch into Adventure Bay, did the same by Cape Frederick Henry * 
1798. ' At noon, this cape bore S. 13° W. eight miles, and Fluted Cape was 
behind it in the same bearing. I proposed to enter the Derwent 
River ; but on making a stretch toward Betsey's Island,^ it appeared 
that the Henshaw's Bay of Hayes, instead of being a shallow bight, 
was a deep opening ; and as the north-west wind blew out of the 
Derwent, we stretched on, seven miles above the island, and came 
to an anchor in 10 fathoms, sandy ground. This opening is. the 
North Bay of D'Entrecasteaux ; but I was totally ignorant, at that 
time, of its having ever been entered. 

Dec. 15, the wind being at north-west, we passed a sloping 
island (Isle St. Aignan of D'Extrecasteaux), and steered north-east- 
ward, to explore the inlet. After running three-and-half miles, 
writh soundings from 13 no bottom, to 5 fathoms, we anchored under 
a small island, which lies S. 75 W., one mile and a half, from Point 
Renard, the uppermost station of the French boats. This small spot 
received the descriptive name of Isle of Caves, and lies in the passage 
from North Bay to a large extent of water which appeared to the 
eastward, and which the French boats did not explore. 

From the Isle of Caves we ran six miles, E. S. E. up the new 
' bay, for Smooth Island. The width of the entrance, from Point 
Renard to Green Head, is two miles, the soundings are from 6 to 
16 fathoms, and there are no dangers. Smooth Island, behind which 
we anchored in 4 fathoms, and where I again landed to take bearings, 
is three quarters of a mile long, and covered with grass and a few 
small trees. It had been visited by the natives, as had the Isle of 

• This name, given by captain Furneaux, is altered in DTSntrecasteaux's voyage to that 
of Cape Trobrvmd. The captain was undoubtedly mistaken in his ideas concerning 
Frederik Hendrik's Bay ; but this dees not appear to be a sufficient reason for chang- 
ing the established name of this cape, unless Tasman had applied it to some other 
land, which is not the case. 

f This is the Isle fVtilautnet, of D'Entrecasteaux ; but it was known to me from the 
sketch of captain Hayes, and is still to the colonists, under the name of Betsey's Island. 

Digitized by 


East Coa*t,$V.D;$ Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxxxiii 

Caves ; but from the eggs of gulls found upon both, I judge they do Flitokm 
not go often. iros. 

Dec. 16, we anchored two miles to the south-east of Smooth 
Island, in 6 fathoms, near a point of the main where a round hill 
afforded me a good view of this extensive bay. The country there * 
is stony and barren, though covered with wood and much frequented 
by kangitfoos. In the evening, the appearance of a southern gale 
induced me to shift our berth to the north side of the point ; between 
which, and an islet lying half a mile from it, the depth was 5 to 7 

On the 17th, we landed upon the islet, and killed some out of the 
many gulls by which it is frequented. A small arm of the bay ex- 
tending north-eastward, where we hoped to obtain fresh water, was 
the object of our examination in the afternoon. There was a little 
stream falling in at the head, but ibeks prevented it from being 
accessible to boats, or to a raft ; and a walk of perhaps a mile to the 
eastward, afforded nothing but the sight of a stony country, and of a 
few miserable huts. Our greyhound started a kanguroo, but it was 
lost in the wood ; and there were no birds to shoot. 

Dec. 18, the wind still blowing fresh from the westward, we 
worked up to Smooth Island; and then stretched over to the south 
side of the bay. The soundings were generally 9 fathoms, on mud 
and sand, to within a mile of the shore ; and at half a mile, where 
the anchor was dropped, the depth was 4 fathoms. 

We landed at a steep, but not high point near the sloop, where I 
took some bearings, and observed the meridian altitude of the moon 
in an artificial horizon, which gave the latitude 43 i£'; Mr. Bass, in 
the mean time, walked a little distance inland, but saw nothing of 
particular interest. Some further bearings were taken next morning, 
from a head lying to the west; after which the anchor was weighed, 
and we steered northward along the west side of the bay, with 
soundings from 8 to 4 fathoms. In the evening, we had worked 

Digitized by 


clxxxiv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flinders back into North Bay, and come to an anchor under the north-east 

**?*£* end of Sloping Island. 

The great eastern bay now quitted had never been entered till 
this time ; and as it is proved not to be Frederik Hendrik's, I have 
named it Norfolk Bay. It is about eight miles long, north and 
south, and three to five miles broad from east to west. The largest 
fleet may find shelter here, with anchorage on a good bottom of 
4 to 9 fathoms deep. We saw but one small stream of fresh water, 
and that was of difficult access ; but it is scarcely probable that, 
amongst the many coves all around the bay, water convenient for 
ships should not be found. The country near the shore is rocky ; but 
as the kanguroo seemed to be abundant, there are probably many 
grassy plains further inland. Wood abounds every where, except 
at Green Head, which is mostly covered with grass. Of the four 
islands in the bay, Smooth and Gull Islands were found superior in 
fertility to the main land : the first contains about forty acres of 
tolerable pasturage. 

In North Bay, the upper part seemed to be circumscribed by a 
sandy beach, and to offer nothing of particular interest ; we there- 
fore steered downward, on Dec. so, for the Derwent River ; but rainy 
squalls coming on from the south, ran for a small beach on the 
western shore, and anchored offit in 2± fathoms. A narrow inlet 
there, from which the tide issued with some strength, excited the 
hope of finding a short cut into the Derwent ; but it proved, on ex- 
amination, to terminate in a shoal lagoon. The country on its bor- 
ders affords good pasturage, with some spots fit for cultivation ; 
there is, also, fresh water on the north side, but only for domestic 
purposes. The lagoon is frequented by ducks, black shags, pelicans, 
and gannets. 

Dec. si, we proceeded round for the Derwent. On clearing 
North Bay, I went off in the boat to Betsey's Island, leaving Mr. 
Bass to conduct the sloop. This island is high, and accessible only 

Digitized by 


Ea$tCoait 9 ^V.iy.$Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxxxr 

towards its north end; its length is one mile, and mean breadth Binders 

& , and Bass. 

about half that quantity ; the soil is fertile, and nourishes a luxuriant 1798. 
vegetation of grass and wood ; and though the natives visit it occa- 
sionally, none of their traces were recent. On rejoining the sloop, I 
found she had passed between the island arid two flat rocks near the 
main, with from 5 to 9 fathoms water ; in which depths the gigantic 
sea-weed grows up to the surface. At eight o'clock we anchored 
in 9 fathoms, off Cape Direction, at the entrance of the river. 

Dec. 32, a base was measured and bearings taken for a survey of 
the entrance, which proved to be near three miles wide. On the 
23rd, the wind being fair, we ran upwards between shores which 
were sometimes steep, but generally of a gradual ascent, and well 
clothed with grass and wood. At nine miles from the entrance lies 
Sullivan Cove, on the west side, where a settlement has since been esta- 
blished by colonel Collins ;* and here the width of the river is sud- 
denly contracted, from one mile and a half to less than three-quarters 
of a mile, but the depth is not diminished. Four miles higher up 
we found Risdon Cove, and anchored there in 4 fathoms, with the 
intention of filling our empty water casks at the Risdon River of Mr. 
Hayes ; but finding it to be a little creek which even our boat could 
not enter, I determined to seek a more convenient watering place 
higher up the Decwent. 

Dec. 24, the wind being adverse to proceeding upward, an exten- 
sive set of angles was taken from the top of Mount Direction ; and 
next day, I carried the survey up the river, whilst Mr. Bass ascended 
the great Mount Table, on the western side. At the northern foot of 
this mount lie King George's Plains, a name given by Mr. Hayes to 
about three hundred acres of pasture land; and in the front of 
the plains is his Prince of Wales' Bay, a, small .shallow cove. Such 
names as these led us, at first, into some errors with respect to the 

• The first settlement was made in Risdon Cove, in 1803, by captain John Bowen 
of the navy, who was sent from Port Jackson for that purpose, by his Excellency governor 
King ; but on the arrival of colonel Collins in 1804, it was removed to Sullivan Cove. 

VOL, I. B b 

Digitized by 


clxxxvi INTRODUCTION, [Prior Di$coveries. 

Flindbrs importance of the places sought ; but after the above examples, we 

mnd Bass. r r . & ' ^ 

1798. were no longer deceived by them 

In the afternoon of the 35th, we got the sloop, with much diffi- 
culty, five or six miles further up the river, to an inlet which I called 
Herdsman's Cove, from the pastoral appearance of the surrounding 
country. Two streams fall into it ; and up the principal one, in the 
north-east corner, I went two miles with the boat. The water was 
there found to be fresh, and the depth sufficient to allow of its being 
reached by the sloop ; but the banks being steep and channel narrow, 
I was deterred from watering in this place, by the fear of detention 
from foul winds. 

The width of the Derwent abreast of Herdsman's Cove is half a 
mile ; but except a very narrow channel close to the eastern shore, 
it is too shallow even for boats. The intention of proceeding fur- 
ther with the sloop was therefore abandoned ; but so soon as the 
rainy, blowing weather permitted, which was not until the 28th, I 
accompanied Mr. Bass in a boat excursion up the river. Three miles 
above Herdsman's Cove the banks open out to a mile in width ; the 
river, from running north-westward, turns to the south-west ; and 
the deep channel makes a short cut across to the convex bank, 
leaving the mud to collect in the opposite elbow. A great deal of 
long, aquatic grass growing upon these mud flats, seemed to have 
attracted the black swans, for the number collected there was not 
estimated at less than five hundred. 

The width of the Derwent is contracted in the south-west reach 
to little more than a quarter of a mile, and we had not rowed far 
up it before the water became perfectly fresh. The land on both 
sides rises to hills of moderate elevation, and the rather steep 
acclivities being well clothed with verdure, they had an agreeable 
appearance. Our attention was suddenly called from contemplating 
the country, by the sound of a human voice coming from the hills. 
There were three people ; and as they would not comply with our 
signs to come down, we landed and went up to them, taking with 

Digitized by 


E<mtCo**t 9 $V.iy.$Landl INTRODUCTION. clxxxvii 

us a black swan. Two women ran off, but a man, who. had two Flindbm 
or three spears in his hand, staid to receive us, and accepted the swan "^a* 8- 
with rapture. He seemed entirely ignorant of muskets, nor did any 
thing excite his attention or desire except the swan and the red ker- 
chiefs about our necks; he knew, however, that we came from the 
sloop, and where it was lying. A little knowledge of the Port- 
Jackson, and of the South-Sea-Island languages was of no use in 
making ourselves understood by this man ; but the quickness with 
which he comprehended our signs spoke in favour of his intelligence. 
His appearance much resembled that of the inhabitants of New 
South Wales ; he had also marks raised upon the skin, and his face 
was blackened and hair ruddled as is sometimes practised by them. 
The hair was either close cropped, or naturally short; but it had 
not the appearance of being woolly. He acceded to our proposition 
of going to his hut; but finding from his devious route and frequent 
stoppages, that he sought to tire our patience, we left him delighted 
with the certain possession of his swan, and returned to the boat. 
This was the sole opportunity we had of communicating with any of 
the natives of Van Diemen's Land. 

At one o'clock, when advanced five miles above the elbow, the 
ebb tide made; and the wind being unfavourable, we landed to dine. 
The general course of the river had been nearly south-west ; but it 
there turned west-by-north. The width, found by extending a base 
line, was two hundred and thirty yards, and the depth, as it had gener- 
ally been in the channel from Herdsman's Cove, was 3 fathoms ; but 
in some parts there may not be more than s, at low water. 

We arrived on board the sloop in the evening, with fourteen swans, 
in time to get a short distance down the river, before the ebb tide 
had done running; and no place more convenient than Risdon Cove 
having offered itself, we anchored there next day, and proceeded to 
complete our water, and refit the sloop for returning to Port Jackson. 
The late rains had so much increased the stream at the head of the 
cove, that our labour was much abridged ; and in the evening 
of Dec. 30, every thing was completed. 

Digitized by 


clxxxviii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flinders This cove is the highest part of the Derwent to which a ship can 
1798. 8 *" advance. There is no danger in proceeding thus far, except off 
Shoal Point, about two miles below, on the western shore; and on 
the opposite side, near the echoing cliffs, there are 12 to 17 fathoms. 
Above Risdon Cove the mud flats commence, and will stop any 
vessel which draws more than ten or twelve feet; although there 
be, in some places higher up, from 5 to 8 fathoms. Mount Direction, 
on the north side of Risdon Cove, forms two round heads which are 
distinguishable from the entrance of the river, bearing N. i6°W. 
from Cape Direction. ' The latitude observed under the mount, from 
the moon's meridian altitude, was 4s 48' 12" south; variation of the 
azimuth compass on the south side of the cove, 8* 28', and of the sur- 
veying theodolite 9 15' east ; but I found it alter one or two degrees 
in different places, both in Norfolk Bay and in the Derwent, owing 
to partial attractions in the land.* / 

In Risdon Cove the tide rises between four and five feet, which is 
more, by at least a foot, than it appeared to be at the entrance of 
the river. The time of high water is about eight hours after the moon's 
passage over the meridian, or one hour later than in Adventure 
Bay/f In the narrow parts, above Sullivan Cove, the tides run with 
tolerable regularity, and with some degree of strength; but towards 
the entrance of the river, the water at the surface sometimes ran 
down twelve hours together, and at other times as much upwards, 
whilst the rise and fall by the shore were at the usual periods. 
These anomalies were probably occasioned by the wind, and seemed 
not to extend far below the surface ; for I found a counter current 
at the bottom. 

The banks of the Derwent are not remarkably high, but the 
country in general may be termed mountainous. Mount Table, at 
the back of Sullivan Cove, is supposed to be three-quarters of a mile 
in height ; nor do I think, from having seen it beyond the distance 

* Upon the top of Mount Table, the compass has since been found to vary as much 
as 20% from one part of the mountain to another, 
t See Bligh's Voyage to the South Seas; page 53. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $ V. D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. clxxxix 

of thirty miles from the sloop's deck, that it can be much less. The Flinders 
publication of Mr. Bass' remarks upon the soil and productions of ^i^* 5 ' 
this part of Van Diemen's Land dispenses me from entering upon 
those subjects ; it is sufficient to say, that the reports of them were 
so favourable as to induce the establishment of a colony on the banks 
of the Derwent, four years afterward ; and that the discoveries which 
have since been made are marked in the chart. 

The last day of December and the first of January were occupied 1799. 
in beating down to the entrance of the river. 

Jan. ». The wind blew strong from the south-east, with heavy 
rain ; and finding no advantage could be made by beating in Storm 
Bay, we ran into D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, passed the large North- 
west Party and anchored in Pruen Cove, in 4 fathoms. We landed, 
so soon as the rain cleared away, and found a small creek in which 
the water was fresh at a few hundred yards above where it falls into 
the cove. A tree had been felled on the bank, probably in 1793 or 4 
by Mr. Hayes, who called this stream Amelia's River; but it would 
be very difficult to fill casks here, except when long continued rains 
should bring the fresh water to the entrance of the creek. The 
valley through which it comes from the westward, seemed to be of 
a rich, though damp soil. 

On Jan. 3, having a breeze at north-west, We got under way at 
daylight ; and after repassing the northern entrance of D'Entrecas- 
teaux's Channel, steered across Storm Bay. At two o'clock, I had 
the following bearings : 

Tasman's Head, S. 37 W. 

Cape Frederick Henry, - S. 71 W. 

Quoin Island, distant six miles, N. 28 W. 

Low point, distant \\ miles, N. 6 E. 

Cape Raoul,* distant 3 miles, - S. 71 E. 

* This is the cape which, from its appearance, I had called by the descriptive name of 
Cape Ba$altes; not knowing that D'Entrecasteaiix, or any other navigator, had pre- 
viously affixed an appellation. I give it up the more readily, because it is said these 
columns are not strictly basaltes. 

Digitized by 


cxc INTRODUCTION. [Prior Diseoverie$ . 

Flwdim Cape Pillar opened round Cape Raoul at E. £*N., and the distance 

^m^T* run fr° m one t0 *^ e °*' ler was n " ie miles. 'These two high, 

columnar capes are the extreme points of the land which captain 

Furneaux took to be Maria's Island. Between them, the shore falls 

back about four miles, and forms a small bay at the head, where 

there appeared to be shelter against all winds except those from 

the southward ; and perhaps from those also, for the water seemed 

to reach behind the inner western point. At five o'clock, we passed 

Tasman's small, cliffy Island and Cape Pillar, and Maria's Island 

came in sight at N. 6° E. We then hauled up to keep close in 

with the shore to the northward; but the wind came in such violent 

puffs down those steep cliffs, that the necessity of steering further 
off frustrated my intention : the outer Hippolite Rock bore N. .56° W. 
three miles, at dusk. 

Jan. 4. At daylight, Maria's Island appeared to be divided into 
two, Schouten's Island was visible, and the principal bearings taken 
were as follow : 

Tasman's small Island, - - S. 14 W. 

A deep bight in the coast, - - S. 56 W. 

South head of Frederik Hendrik's Bay, - S. 7a W. 

Maria's Island, south part, - N. 64 to 43 W7 

«-——--—-— north part, - N. 39 to 19 W. 

Schouten's Island, - - North to N. 5 E. 

The wind shifted to north at ten o'clock, and we tacked towards 
Maria's Island. At noon, the north-east extreme, a cock's-comb-like 
head, was distant four or five miles ; but the islet lying off it, in Mr. 
Cox's chart, was not visible, nor yet the isthmus which connects 
the two parts of the island. , 

Observed latitude, - - - 43 41 £ S. 

South head of Frederik Hendrik's Bay, S. 40 W. 

Maria's Island, south part, - Clouded. 

— — — north part, S. 82 to N. 64 W, 

Schouten's Island, dist. 4 leagues, N. 3 W. to 8 E. 

Digitized by 


East Coait,%V.Q:$ Land.*] INTRODUCTION. erci 

We had squally weather in the afternoon, with the wind at north- Flinders 
west; and being unable to get near Maria's Island before the even- .1799. # 
ing, bore away northward, having then a fresh breeze at W. S. W. 
Schouten's Island was passed within two miles at ten o'clock, and at 
eleven, a piece of land called Vanderlin's Island by Tasman, but 
which has since been found to be the southern extremity of a penin- 
sula. We then steered north, to keep in with the coast ; but the 
wind drawing forward in the morning of the 5th, the sloop was 
drifted off, by noon, to four or five leagues. The land then abreast 
rose in ranges of irregular, well-wooded hills ; and behind them 
were two peaks and a flat-topped piece of land, seemingly not many 
leagues from the shore. The southernmost of the two peaks is the 
most elevated, and appears to be the high round mountain seen by 
Tasman on Dec 4 and 5, 1643 ; I have, therefore, called it Tasman 9 s 
Peak. It is the northernmost part seen by him on this side of Van 
Diemen's Land, as Mount Heemskerk was on the west coast : the 
flat-topped mountain is that which colonel Paterson afterwards 
named Benlomen. To the southward, the land was visible at a great 
distance ; and if Schouten's Island and the cape of the peninsula near 
it can possibly be seen so far as twenty leagues from the deck, it 
must have been them. My observation and bearings at this time 
were as follow : 

O / 

Latitude observed, - - 41 27^ S. 

South extreme of the coast, . - - S. 18 W. 

Another piece of land, like an island, S. 33 W. 

Tasman's Peak, - - - S. 63 W. 

Northern extremity of the land, - N. 32 W. 
It was to me a subject of regret, that the wind did not allow of 
keeping close in with this east coast, since captain Furneaux's 
examination was made at too great a distance to be exact ; but my 
limited time of absence being expired, and provisions nearly out, 
nothing more could be attempted than what might be done in the . 
way to Port Jackson. 

Digitized by 


Plate VI.) 

weii INTRODUCTION. [/Vtor Discoveries. 

«ri™«" ^ an# 6 * fa latitude 4 0# 45t no land was in sight ; but on the 7th, 
1799. " when in 40° 24$: , the high land of Cape Barren was visible through 
a thick haze, bearing S. 76° W. five or six miles. The wind being 
n^ ™ x t * len near ty at east » we steered to pass between Cape Barren and the 
great northern island, intending to explore the west side of the latter 
in our way. At five o'clock breakers were seen two miles to the 
north, though no bottom could be found at 17 fathoms ; at six, 
however, we fell suddenly into 3 fathoms ; but hoping to find a 
sufficient depth for the sloop round the island which lies in the open- 
ing, stood on till the soundings diminished to nine feet, and breakers 
were seen all round a-head, from beam to beam. It was then near 
sun-set, and the breeze right aft ; but whilst I was considering what 
could be done for our safety, the wind shifted suddenly, as if by an 
act of Providence, to the opposite quarter, and enabled us to steer 
back, out of this dangerous place, with all sail. At nine o'clock the 
wind returned to the south-eastward, having just lasted long enough 
to take us out of danger ; at eleven we had 20 fathoms ; and in two 
hours more steered W., for the Babel Isles, with afresh and 
fair wind. 

Jan 8, at six o'clock, Mr. Bass went on shore to the small, south- 
eastern islet ; whence he brought a boat load of seals and gannets. 
Besides these, the islet is inhabited by geese, shags, pinguins, gulls, and 
sooty petrels ; each occupying its separate district, and using its own 
language. It was the confusion of noises amongst these various animals 
which induced me to give the name of Babel Isles to this small cluster. 

After taking on board our seals and gannets, we steered north- 
westward ; and at one o'clock took a departure from the Sisters. I 
wished to make another effort to find the supposed Furneaux's 
Land, represented to lie north of these islands and in latitude 39° ; 
but the wind being strong from the south-eastward, the course 
steered was N. by E. At eight o'clock we had passed the 39th de- 
gree; and no land being visible, the course was then altered to 
north-east, for Cape Howe. 

Digitized by 


East Coast, SfV.D^s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxcifi 

Xan. 9, the wind blew strong at S. S. E., with thick, hazy weather, flinders. 
At eight in the morning, high land was distinguished two poirttsori lsm * 
die weathef bow, and sahd hills from thence to abaft the lee beaitf, 
not more than six or seven miles distant. We immediately hauled 
the wind to the eastward, and carried every sail the sloop could beat 
in such a sea as was then running. The land to windward was 
judged to be near the Ram Head ; although our reckoning was 
*& short in latitude, and we supposed ourselves to the eastward. 

To make certain of clearing Cape Howe, the eastern course was 
prolonged until day-light of the 10th ; we then bore away, and at 
noon were m latitude 57 5*. On the 11th, the observation gave 34° 
30' ; mid the gale still continuing y we anchored within the heads of 
Port Jackson at ten o'clock the same evening, having exceeded, 
by no more than eleven days, the time which had been fixed for out 

To the strait which had been the great object of research-, arid 
whose discovery was now Completed, governor Hunter gave, at my 
recommendation, the name of Bass' Strait. This was no more than ; 
a just tribute to my worthy friend and companion, for the extreme 
dangers and fatigues he had undergone in first entering it in the whale 
boat, and to the correct judgment he had fontaed fronl various indi- 
cations, of the existence of a wide opening between Van Diemen's 
Land and New South Wales. 

The success of this expedition favoured my views of further drs- Flindbm. 


covery ; and the Reliance not being immediately wanted for service, 
His Excellency accepted a proposition to explore Glass-house and 
Hervey's Jffiiyj, two large openings to the northward, of which the 
entrances only were known. I had some hope of finding a consi- 
derable river discharging itself at one of these openings, and of 
being able by its means to penetrate further into the interior of the 
country than had hitherto been effected. 
The sleep Norfolk was again allotted to me, with nearly the same 
vol. 1. C c 

Digitized by 


cxciv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flinders, volunteer crew as before; and I was accompanied by Mr. S. W. 
Flinders, a midshipman of the Reliance, and by Bongaree, a native, 
whose good disposition and manly conduct had attracted my esteem. 
Of the assistance of my able friend Bass I was, however, deprived, 
he having quitted the station soon after our last voyage^ to return 
to England. The time of my absence was limited by the governor 
to six weeks, some arrivals being then expected which might call 
the Reliance into active service. 
(Atlas, , We sailed out of Port Jackson on July 8; and next morning 

Plate VJ II.) 

came in with a part of the coast, north of Port Stephens, which cap- 
tain Cook had passed in the night.* Off a projection which I called 
Sugar-loaf Point, in latitude 3* »<)', lie two rocks to the south-east- 
ward, at the distances of two and four miles. We passed between 
these rocks and the point, and kept close in with the shore as, far 
to the north as the hills called Three Brothers by captain Code, of 
which the northernmost and highest lies in latitude 31° 43' south. 
(Atba, July 10, the observed latitude of 31* 38' shewed a set of 33' to the 
south; whereas it had the day before been 8' the contrary way. 
Our distance from the shore had then become six leagues, owing to a 
foul wind ; but we got in with it again in the evening, and steered 
northward with a fair breeze. On the 11th we sailed amongst the 
Solitary Isles, of which five were added to the number before seen ; 
and the space from thence to twelve leagues northward having 
been passed by captain Cook in the night, I continued to keep close 
in with the coast. 

In latitude 29 43', we discovered a small opening like a river, 
with an islet lying in the entrance ; and at sunset, entered a larger, 
to which I gave the name of Shoal Bay, an appellation which 

* The journal of this expedition, delivered to governor Hunter on my return, having 
been published in great part by colonel Collins, the account here given will be brief, 
and almost wholly confined to nautical subjects. The reader who desires more informa- 
tion upon the lands visited, and upon their productions and inhabitants, is referred to the 
Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol II. page 225 to 263* 

Plate IX.) 

Digitized by 


East Coast, $ Vft.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cxcv 

it but too well merited. On the south side of the entrance, which Fuhdbm. 


is the deepest, there is x ten feet at low water ; and within side, the 
depth is from 2 to 4 fathoms in a channel near the south shore : the 
rest of the bay is mostly occupied by shoals, over which boats can 
scarcely pass when the tide is out. High water appeared to take 
place about seven hours after the moon's passage; at which time, a ship 
drawing not more than fourteen feet might venture in, if severely 
pressed. Shoal Bay is difficult to be found, except by its latitude, which 
is 29 2Q5-' ; but there is on the low land about four leagues to the 
southward, a small hill somewhat peaked, which may serve as a mark 
to vessels coming from that direction. 

July 12. The morning was employed in examining the bay, and 
in looking round the country. The sloop had sprung a bad leak, and 
I wished to have laid her on shore ; but not finding a convenient 
place, nor any thing of particular interest to detain me longer, we 
sailed at one o'clock, when the tide began to rise. Cape Byron, in 
latitude 28° 38', and the coast for twelve miles to the north and 
south, were passed on the 13th ; but no particular addition or cor- 
rection could be made to captain Cook's chart. At Moreton Bay, 
further on, that navigator had left it in doubt whether there were any 
opening ; and therefore we closed in again with the land at Point 
Look-out, on the 14th. At noon, the point bore S. 42 E., three or 
four miles, and a small flat islet E. 3 N. three miles ; the opening 
in Moreton Bay was then evident, and bore W. N. W. It is small, 
and formed by two sandy points, beyond which a large extent of 
water was visible. Our latitude at this time, was 27 24', giving that 
of Point Look-out to be 27° 27' south. Captain Cook says it is " in 
" latitude 27 6';"* a difference which probably arose from his having 
allowed for a strong northern current during the run of four or five 
hours from the preceding noon, whereas, in reality, none existed ; 
for his course and distance by log, from the noon's observation, 
would give the point in its true latitude. 

* HawkcswortKs Voyages, Vol III. page 119. 

Digitized by 


oxcvi INTRODUCTION. [Pmr Discoveries. 

Flindbrb. We stood on to within two miles of the opening in Moreton Bay ; 
but seeing it blocked up by many shoals of sand, and the depth hav- 
ing diminished from 1* to 4 fathoms, the course was altered for Cape 
Moreton, which was visible seven or eight leagues to the northward. 
At eight in the evening, the anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms at the 
entrance of Glass-house Bay, Cape Moreton bearing E. S. £. two or 
three miles. 

But little progress was made up the bay on the 15th, owing to 
the many shoals in it, and to a foul wind. At noon, the latitude of 
Cape Moreton was ascertained to be 27° o± # south, and the longitude 
from distances of stars east and west of the moon, corrected by the 
observations at Greeenwich, was 153 %rf east; being 4^ south, 
and 7' west of its position by captain Cook. In the evening, when 
the lunar distances were observed, the sloop was at anchor in 11 
fathoms on the west side of the entrance, within two miles of a low 
projection which an unfortunate occurrence afterwards caused to be 
named Point Skirmish. 

On the 16th, whilst beating up amongst the shoals, an opening 
was perceived round the point ; and being much in want of a place 
to lay the sloop on shore, on account of the leak, I tried to enter it ; 
but not finding it accessible from the south, was obliged to make the 
examination with the boat, whilst the sloop lay at anchor five miles 
off. There was a party of natives on the point, and our communication 
was at first friendly ; but after receiving presents they made an at* 
tack, and one of them was wounded by our fire. Proceeding up the 
opening, I found it to be more than a mile in width ; and from the 
quantities of pumice stone on the borders, it wasnkmed Pumice-stone 
River. It led towards the remarkable peaks called the Glass Houses, 
which were now suspected to be volcanic, and excited my curiosity. 

On board the sloop, the leak had, in the mean time, been found 
to arise from a plank having started from the timbers, at three or 
four streaks above the keel ; and the open space being filled up 
with oakum from the inside, very little water came in ; I therefore 

Digitized by 


Ba9tOmt t SfV.D:»Land.'\ INTRODUCTION. cxcvti 

left the river and the Glass Houses for a future examination, and Fundus. 


proceeded up the bay with the afternoon's flood. On the t 8th at noon, 
we had passed two low islands surrounded with shoals, and were at 
anchor in 6* fathoms, abreast of a third. The south point of the open* 
ing from Moreton Bay then bore N. 77 E., ten miles; and the ob- 
served latitude being «7° «7£', confirmed the observation taken 
without side on the 14th. Next day, we beat up against a southern 
wind to a sixth island; but the shoals then became more numerous, 
and the channels between them so narrow, that it was very difficult 
to proceed further. 

The latitude observed upon the sixth island was %*f 35*, being 
thirty-four miles south of Cape Moreton at the entrance of the 
bay. Above this island, the east and west shores, from being 
nine or ten miles apart, approach each other within two miles, and 
the space between, them takes the form of a river ; but the entrance 
was too full of shoals to leave a hope of penetrating by it far into 
the interior, or that it could be of importance to navigation. Under 
this discouragement and that of a foul wind, all further research at 
the head of Glass-house Bay was given up; and I returned on board 
to seek in Pumice-stone River for a place to stop the leak, and the 
means of visiting the Glass Houses. On die *sd, we got into the 
river after many difficulties, arising principally from shoals in the 
entrance, which could only be passed at high water. The place 
chosen for laying the sloop on shore was on the east side, five 
miles above Point Skirmish, at a small beach, close to which the 
depth was 7 fathoms. 

July 95. The leaky plank being secured, and the sloop restowed 
and completed with water, we proceeded two miles further up the 
river > amongst mangrove islets and muddy flats. Next morning I 
landed on the west side, as far above the sloop as tile boat could 
advance; and with my friend Bongaaree and two sailors, steered 
north-westward for the Glass-house peaks. After nine miles of 
laborious walking, mostly through swamps or over a rocky country, 

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cxcviii INTRODUCTION. [Pri6r Discoveries. 

Flimdbrs. we reached the top of a stony mount, from whence the highest 
peak was four miles distant to the north-west. Three or four 
leagues beyond it was a ridge of mountain, from which Various 
small streams descend into Pumice-stone River ; the principal place 
of their junction seeming to be at a considerable extent of water 
which bore N. 8o° E., and was about six miles above the sloop. 
Early on the 27th, we reached the foot of the nearest Glass House, 
a flat-topped peak, one mile and a half north of the stony mount. It 
was impossible to ascend this almost perpendicular rock ; and find- 
no marks of volcanic eruption, we returned to the boat, and to the 
sloop the same evening. 

July 28, we proceeded down the river;' but owing to strong 
winds and squalls from the south-east, did not clear it before the 
31st. Some communications with the natives had been obtained 
whilst the sloop was lying on shore ; and this detention afforded 
opportunities of repeating them. I am happy to say they were all 
friendly, which is attributable to their opinion of us having under- 
gone a salutary change from the effect of our fire arms at Point 

These people were evidently of the same race as those at Port 
Jackson, though speaking a language which Bongaree could not 
understand. They fish almost wholly with cast and setting nets, live 
more in society than the natives to the southward, and are much 
better lodged. Their spears are of solid wood, and used without 
the throwing stick. Two or three b^rk canoes were seen ; but from 
the number of black swans in the river, of which eighteen were 
caught in our little boat, it should seem that these people are not 
dextrous in the management either of the canoe or spear. 
- The entrance of Glass-house Bay, from Point Skirmish to the 
inner part of Cape Moreton, is eight miles wide ; but it contains so 
many shoals that a ship would have much difficulty in finding a 
passage. These shoals are of sand, and in the channels between 
them are various depths from 5 to 13 fathoms upon similar ground; 

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Ea*tCov*t,$V.D:8Land.l INTRODUCTION. cxcix 

but towards the head of the bay, both on the shoals and in the deeper Binders 
parts, the bottom is almost universally of mud. The land on the . 
borders of Pumice-stone River is low ; and is either sandy or rocky, 
with a slight superficies of vegetable soil ; yet not ill clothed with 
grass and wood. On the west side of Glass-house Bay, the appear- 
ance of the land was much similar, but with a diminution of sand in 
the upper part. The long slip on the east side, which I have called 
Moreton Island, as supposing it would have received that name from 
captain Cook, had he known of its insularity, is little else than a ridge 
of rocky hills, with a sandy surface ; but the peninsula further south 
had some appearance of fertility. I judged favourably of the country 
on the borders of what seemed to be a river falling into the head of 
the bay, both from its thick covering of wood, and from the good 
soil of the sixth island, which lies at the entrance. The other islands 
in the bay are very low, and so surrounded with forests of large 
mangrove, that it must be difficult to land upon them. It was high 
water in Pumice-stone River, nine hours and a half after the moon's 
passage over the meridian ; and the rise of tide was from three to 
six feet, the night tide being much the highest. 

July #1, we sailed out of Pumice-stone River; and by keeping 
near the shore of Point Skirmish had generally 6 fathoms ; but two 
narrow shoals were passed upon which the depth was only twelve 
feet. At noon, when the east extreme of the point bore S. 40 W. 
one mile and a half, the observed latitude was 27 4/, and depth 10 
fathoms ; but before one o'clock, it suddenly diminished to 3 ; and dur- 
ing five miles run to the N. N. E., varied from that to 6 fathoms. It 
then deepened to 9, and the outer edge of the shoals, a' well-defined 
line of discoloured water, was seen stretching S. 6o° E. for Cape 
Moreton. At five o'clock, the top of the highest Glass House, 
appearing like a small peak upon the mountainous ridge behind, bore 
S. 62 W., and Cape Moreton S. 11 E. twenty-two miles. The cape 
viols then disappearing from the deck ; whence its elevation should be 
between three and four hundred feet above the sea. 

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oc INTRODUCTION. [Prior DtoxveriM. 

limns. August « at noon, the eastern extremity of Sandy Cape bore 
(AtL el x.) N. 51* W., six miles, and its latitude was found to be 94° 4,^, being 
three minutes north of its situation by captain Cook. In running 
northward, within two or three miles of the edge of Break-sea Spit, 
we had 19 fathoms ; and at five o'clock, passed over the end of the 
spit in s£; Sandy Cape then bearing S. 9 E. six leagues. The 
water deepened almost immediately to more than 17 fathoms; and 
in keeping close to a south-east wind, up Hervey's Bay, the depth 
Was from 90 to 14, during the night. 

On the 3rd, the wind veered to S. S. W.; and at noon the anchor 
was dropped in 17 fathoms, with the extreme of Sandy Cape bearing 
N. 66° E. seven or eight miles. The observed latitude was «4 # 45^, 
and a tide of one mile per hour came from the southward, A fair 
wind sprung up in the afternoon, and we ran five leagues by log in 
a S. by W. direction, anchoring at dusk in 11 fathoms, sandy bottom. 

Aug. 4 was employed in beating up along the eastern shore, 
against a south-west wind. At three leagues above the anchorage, 
our progress was stopped by a mass of shoals which seemed to pre- 
clude all further access towards the head of the bay on that side. In 
the night, we stretched north-westward, to get round them ; and in 
the evening of the 5th, anchored in 5 fathoms, three or four miles 
from the western shore. 

Aug. 6. The wind being off the land, we followed the line of the 
coast upwards, as dose as the shoals would allow ; and before noon 
entered an opening formed by the western shore on one side, and an 
island of moderate height, three or four miles long, on the other. 
The opening was not more than two miles wide, and was still further 
contracted by a low islet in the middle, surrounded with shallow 
banks. There was a large expanse of water above ; but we had 
not advanced two miles before shoal water obliged us to tack ; and 
after having tried for a channel in every direction, without success, 
I anchored in 3 fathoms, half a mile north-west from the low islet, 
and landed. 

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East Coast, QV.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION. cci 

This rocky, sandy spot lies in latitude 25 17'. It is much fre- Fuwdim. 
quented by aquatic birds, particularly by that species whence it * % 

obtained the name of Curlew Islet; and since a small shield and 
three wooden spears were found there, it must also be visited .occa- 
sionally by men. The larger island, lying to the east, is richly 
covered with grass and wood. Its position is nearly in the middle 
of the entrance to what may be called the upper bay ; and as no 
deep channel past the island could be found on the west, I deter- 
mined to try on the east side ; having much difficulty in believing, 
that a piece of water six or seven miles in extent" every way, should 
not have a channel into it sufficiently deep for the Norfolk. 

The anchor was weighed soon after four o'clock, and several 
attempts made to get round the larger island ; but being constantly 
repulsed by shoals, I was at length forced to relinquish the hope of 
penetrating further up Hervey's Bay. We then steered north-west- 
ward, to complete the examination of the west side down to the coast 
seen by captain Cook. 

Aug. 7. At daylight, a sloping hummock, in latitude 24° 50', 
bore W. i6°N., our distance off the shore being one mile 
and a half, and the depth 7 fathoms. At nine, the water shoaled 
suddenly, and obliged us to haul off north-eastward. The coast 
was then seen extending to the W. N. W., and having been laid 
down by captain Cook, the north-eastern course was continued for 
Break-sea Spit, and the examination of Hervey's Bay concluded. 

This inlet is about fifteen leagues across, from the sloping hum- 
mock to the eastern extremity of Sandy Cape, and nearly as much 
in depth. The east side is formed by a great sandy peninsula, of 
which the cape is the northern extremity ; but about half way up, 
there are several white cliffs, and others in the upper bay, which had 
the appearance of chalk. The shores at the head and on the west 
side are more rocky than sandy. The back land is low for some 
miles, and not ill covered with grass and wood; i% then rises to hills 
of considerable elevation, amongst which Double Mount was most 

vol. 1. Dd 

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ccii INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discoveries. 

Flinders, remarkable. The smokes in different places bespoke the country to 
be inhabited in the scanty numbers usual on other parts of the east 
coast ; but none of the people were seen. 

Aug. 7, at ten in the evening, we passed the end of Break-sea 
Spit in 13 fathoms, and hauled up south-east; but the winds were 
so unfavourable, that on the, 14th our latitude was no more than 
29° 19'. I kept the land barely within sight, in order to obtain the 
greatest advantage from the southwardly current ; for, contrary to 
captain Cook's observation, it was found to be strongest at the dis- 
tance of six, and from thence to twenty leagues. Close in with the 
shore, more especially in the bights which fall within the general 
Kite of the coast, an eddy had been found setting to the northward. 

light northern winds favoured us for two days ; but returning 
to the south-west, and sometimes blowing strong, it was the 20th in 
the evening before the sloop was secured in Port Jackson, although 
the current had set us 210 miles on the way. 

I must acknowledge myself to have been disappointed in not being 
able to penetrate into the interior of New South Wales, by either of 
the openings examined in this expedition ; but, however mortifying 
the conviction might be, it was then an ascertained fact, that no river 
of importance intersected the East Coast between the 24th and 39th 
degrees of south latitude. 

Conclusive The account of the discoveries which resulted from the establish- 
mar * ment of the colony in New South Wales, closes with this expedition ; 
and it remains only to point out what was wanted to be done in these 
parts of Terra Australis. 

(Atias,PLi.) In Van Dieraen's Land, the opening round Point St. Vincent and 
the space between Maria's Island and Cape Portland required to be 
further explored. The north side also, from the want of a time 
keeper in the Norfolk, required to" have the longitude of its points 
better ascertained ; and that the bight between Circular Head and 
Cape Grim should be examined. In Bass' Strait, some of the islands 

Digitized by 


East Coast, qV.D.'s Land.] INTRODUCTION, cciii 

were known, but the middle of the strait and its western entrance Conclusive 
were in want of much investigation, before it could be deemed a safe 
passage for ships ; and the greater part of the coast on the north 
side, remained as laid down by Mr. Bass, with all the uncertainty 
attending the navigation of an open boat. 

On the east coast of New South Wales, from Bass' Strait to Bus- 
tard Bay in latitude 24 , the shore might be said to be well explored; 
but from thence northward to Cape York, there were several por- 
tions which had either been passed by captain Cook in the night, or 
at such a distance in the day time, as to render their formation 
doubtful : The coast from 15 30' to 14 30' was totally unknown. 

The following openings or bights had been seen and* named by 
captain Cook, but were yet unexamined: Keppel and Shoal-water 
Bays; Broad Sound; Repulse, Edgecumbe, Cleveland, Halifax, Rock- 
ingham, and Weary Bays. To the northward of these were Wey- 
mouth, Temple, Shelburne, and Newcastle Bays; and perhaps many 
others which distance did not permit our great navigator to notice. 
There was also a numerous list of islands, of which a few only had 
been examined ; and several were merely indicated from a distant 

From 16 , northward to Cape York, an extensive chain of reefs 
had been found to lie at a considerable distance from the coast, 
without side of the islands ; and two vessels from Port Jackson had 
met with others further south, extending nearly from »i° to 23°. It 
was of importance to ascertain the limits of these vast bodies of 
coral, were it only on account of the ships employed in the whale 
fishery; but in the view to future settlements within the tropick, it 
was necessary to be known whether these reefs might form such a 
barrier to the coast, as to render it inaccessible from the eastward : 
if not, then the open parts were to be ascertained. 

Of the persons, manners, and customs of the inhabitants, little 
new information could be expected. The skirts of their country 
had been examined in the southern parts, and extensive collections 

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cciv INTRODUCTION. [Prior Discover**. 

Conclusive in natural history made there ; but to the north of Endeavour River, 

Remarks. 7 

the country had been seen only at a distance. The vast interior of 
this new continent was wrapped in total obscurity ; and excited, per- 
haps on that very account, full as much curiosity as did the forms of 
the shores. This part of the subject, however, will scarcely be 
thought to belong to a naval expedition ; except in so much as 
rivers and other inlets might conduce to obtaining the desired 

On a general review of the various objects in Terra Australis, to 
which investigation might be usefully directed at the commencement 
of the nineteenth century, and in which natural history, geography, 
navigation, and commerce were so much interested, the question, 
Why it should have been thought necessary to send out another 
expedition ? will no longer be asked. But rather it will be allowed 
that, instead of one, there was ample room for two or three ships ; 

each to be employed for years, and to be conducted with a zeal 
and perseverence not inferior to the examples given by the best 

On the arrival of His Majesty's ship Reliance in England, at the 
latter end of 1800, the charts of the new discoveries were published, 
and a plan was proposed to the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks 
for completing the investigation of the coasts of Terra Australis. 
The plan was approved by that distinguished patron of science and 
useful enterprise ; it was laid before Earl Spencer, then first Lord 
Commissioner of the Admiralty ; and finally received the sanction of 
His Majesty, who was graciously pleased to direct that the voyage, 
should be undertaken ; and I had the honour of being appointed to 
the command. 

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Appointment to the Investigator. Outfit of the ship. Instruments, books, 
and charts supplied, with articles for presents and barter. Liberal con- 
duct of the Hon. East-India Company. Passage round to Spithead. The 
Roar sand. Instructions for the execution of the voyage. French passport, 
and orders in consequence. Officers and company of the Investigator, 
and men of science who embarked. Account of the time keepers. 

On the 19th of January 1801, a commission was signed at the isoi. 
Admiralty appointing me lieutenant of His Majesty's sloop Inves- anuar /* 
tigator, to which the name of the ship, heretofore known as the 
Xenophon, "was changed by this commission ; and captain John 
Henry Martin having received orders to consider himself to be super- 
seded, I took the command at Sheerness on the 25th of the same 

- Digitized by 


\ A VOYAGE TO [/n England. 

1801. The Investigator was a north-country-built ship, of three-hun- 

anuM7# dred and thirty-four tons ; and, in form, nearly resembled the descrip- 
tion of vessel recommended by captain Cook as best calculated for 
voyages of discovery. She had been purchased some years before 
into His Majesty's service; and having been newly coppered and 
repaired, was considered to be the best vessel which could, at that 
time, be spared for the projected voyage to Terra Australis. 

The ship was in a state of re-equipment; but, on obtaining 
permission from the Navy Board to fit her out in such manner as I 
should judge necessary, without reference to the supplies usually 
allotted to vessels of the same class, all the stores were returned, 
and others of the best quality demanded, upon a more extensive 
scale. Such of the officers and crew as were aged, or did not volun- 
teer for this particular service, were discharged ; and able young 
men were received in lieu from His Majesty's ship Zealand, on 
board of which the flag of vice-admiral Graeme was flying at the 
Nore. Upon one occasion, where eleven volunteers were to be 
received from the Zealand, a strong instance was given of the spirit 
of enterprise prevalent amongst British seamen. About three hun- 
dred disposable men were called up, and placed on one side of the 
deck ; and after the nature of the voyage, with the number of men 
wanted, had been explained to them, those who volunteered were 
desired to go over to the opposite side. The candidates were not 
less than t\YP-hundred and fifty, most of whom sought with eager- 
ness to be received ; and the eleven who- were chosen, proved, with 
one single exception, to be worthy of the preference they obtained. 
In making the various alterations required in the ship, and in 
performing the duties incident to an equipment of this nature, I re- 
ceived the most ready concurrence and assistance from Isaac Coffin, 
Esq., ( now vice-admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, Bart. ) the resident naval com- 
missioner at Sheerness. At his suggestion I had the ship coppered 
two streaks higher than before, and took on board a spare rudder, 
which, after being fitted, was stowed away in pieces, ready against 

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those accidents to which ships employed in examining new, or little isoi. 
known coasts, are more peculiarly liable. To Mr. Whidbey, the anuary * 
master attendant, who had served in the expedition of captain Van- 
couver, I was also much indebted, for his valuable advice and assist- 
ance in the selection of the proper stores. Both these officers con- 
stantly took pleasure in promoting whatever could be useful to the 
voyage, or add to our comfort and convenience ; and in some cases, 
our wants, and even wishes, were anticipated. ' 

February 16, 1 was promoted to the rank of commander. On February, 
the 14th of the following month, the guns, twelve six-pounders, with March, 
their ammunition and a chest of fire works were received; and the 
provisions and stores being all on board on the 27th, and the ship 
ready for sea, we dropped out to the Nore. I was anxious to arrive 
upon the coasts of Terra Australis in time to have the whole of the 
southern summer before me; but various circumstances retarded 
our departure, and amongst others, a passport from the French 
government, to prevent molestation to the voyage, had not arrived. I 
took advantage of this delay to remedy an inconvenience, under which 
we were otherwise likely to suffer. The quantity of provisions neces* 
sary to be carried out did not leave room in the holds for more water 
than fifty tons; but by removing ten of the long guns, and sub- 
stituting a few light carronades which could be carried on the upper 
.deck, ten tons more of water might be received, without reducing 
our efficient strength ; for the ship was too deep to admit of the 
guns below being used in bad weather, whereas the carronades 
would be always serviceable. My application to have this exchange May, 
made, was complied with ; and on May so it was effected. 

On the sand, a set of astronomical and surveying instruments, 
for the use of myself and officers, was sent down by direction of the 
Navy Board ; as also various articles for presents to, and barter with, 
the native inhabitants of the countries to be visited, and many for 
our own use and convenience. Amongst the latter were most of 
the books of voyages to the South Seas, which, with our own indi* 
vol. 1. E e 

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6 A VOYAGE TO [In England; 

1801. vidual collections, and the Encyclopedia Britannica, presented by the 
ay# Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks, formed a library in my cabin for the 
use of all the officers. Every chart at the Admiralty, which related 
to Terra Australis and the neighbouring islands, was copied for us 
under the direction of the late hydrographer, Alexander Dalrymple, 
Esq. ; who also enriched our stock of information by communicating 
all such parts of his works as were appropriate to the voyage. 

The expense to officers of an outfit for several years, was 
much alleviated by the liberality of the Hon. East-India Company. 
The sum of £600. was ordered by the Court of Directors, to be paid 
as an allowance to the men of science, to the officers of the ship, 
and myself, for our tables ; and the same sum to be given at the 
conclusion of the voyage. This allowance the directors were pleased 
to make, from the voyage being within the limits of the Company's 
charter, from the expectation of our examinations and discoveries 
proving advantageous to their commerce and the eastern navigation, 
and partly, as they said, for my former services. 

On the 26th, I received orders to proceed round to Spithead; 
but the winds being generally from the westward, we did not arrive 
there before the and of June. A circumstance occurred during the 
passage, which, amongst many others, shewed the necessity there 
was for a regulation since adopted, to furnish His Majesty's ships 
with correct charts. No master had been appointed to the Investi- 
gator; nor was any officer on board intimately acquainted with the 
navigation of the Channel; and having been most of my life 
engaged in foreign voyages, I was under the necessity, after leaving 
the pilot in the Downs, to trust almost wholly to my chart, which 
was that of Mr. J. H. Moore. In working up under Dungeness, on 
the evening of May 28, we made a trip in shore, towards the town 
of Hythe, as I supposed from the chart. A little after six, the 
officer of the watch had reported our distance from the land to be 
near two leagues ; and there being from 10 to 14 fathoms marked 
within two or three miles of it, and no mention of any shoal lying 

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in the way, I intended to stand on half an hour longer; but in isoi. 
ten minutes, felt the ship lifting upon a bank. The sails were y ' 

immediately thrown aback ; and the weather being fine and water 
smooth, the ship was got off without having received any apparent 

This sand is laid down in the Admiralty charts, under the 
name of the Roar; and extends from Dungeness towards Folkstone, 
at the distance of from two and a half, to four miles from the land. 
The leadsman, having found no bottom with 15 fathoms at ten 
minutes before six, had very culpably quitted the chains when his 
watch was out, without taking another cast of the lead; and the ship, 
in going at the rate of two knots and three-quarters, was upon the 
bank at twenty minutes after six ; so that it appears to be steep on 
the east side. 

The bearings given by the azimuth compass, whilst the ship 
was aground, were as under : 

Dungeness light house, S. W. 

Iidd church, - - - - W. by S. \ S. 

Town of Dim, but taken to be Hythe, - N. W. by N. 

Cheriton church, then supposed to be Folkstone, E. N. E. 

Cliffy eastern extreme of the land, near Dover, E. £ N. 
The distance from the town of Hythe (Dim,) was guessed to be 
not less than two-and-half, nor more than four miles. 

In consequence of this accident, we went into Portsmouth June. 
Harbour and into dock on June 10; and it being ascertained that the 
ship had received no injury, we returned to Spithead next day, and 
moored as before, waiting for orders. On the 18th, commissioner 
Sir Charles Saxton paid the ship's company their wages up to the 
end of May, with an advance of two months ; and the officers were 
permitted to draw bills for three months pay in advance. 

On July 17, 1 received the following instructions for the exe- July- 
cutdon of the voyage. 

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8 A VOYAGE TO [In England. 

By the Commissioners for executing the 
office of Lord High Admiral of the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c. 

Whereas the sloop you command has been fitted and stored for 
a voyage to remote parts ; And whereas it is our intention that you 
should proceed in her to the coast of New Holland for the purpose of 
making a complete examination and survey of the said coast, on the 
eastern side of which His Majesty's colony of New South Wales is 
situated ; You are hereby required and directed to put to sea the first 
favourable opportunity of wind and weather, and proceed with as 
little delay as possible in execution of the service above-mentioned, 
repairing in the first place to Madeira and the Cape of Good Hope in 
order to take on board such supplies of water and live stock as you 
may be in want of. 

Having so done you are to make the best of your way to the coast 
of New Holland, running down the said coast from 130 degrees of 
east longitude to Bass's Strait ; (putting if you shall find it neces- 
sary, into King George the third's Harbour for refreshments and 
water previous to your commencing the survey ; ) and on your arrival on 
the coast, use your best endeavours to discover such harbours as may 
be in those parts ; and in case you should discover any creek or 
opening likely to lead to an inland sea or strait, you are at liberty 
either to examine it, or not, as you shall judge it most expedient, 
until a more favourable opportunity shall enable you %o to do. 

When it shall appear to you necessary, you are to repair to Sydney 
Cove for the purpose of refreshing your people, refitting the sloop 
under your command, and consulting with the governor of New 
South Wales upon the best means of carrying on the survey of the 
coast ; and having received from him such information as he may be 
able to communicate, and taken under your command the Lady Nelson 
tender, which you may expect to find at Sydney Cove, you are to re- 
commence your survey, by first diligently examining the coast from 
Bass's Strait to King George the third's Harbour ; which you may 
do either by proceeding along shore to the westward, or, in case 
you should think it more expedient, by proceeding first to King 

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George's Sound, and carrying on your survey 'from thence to the 

You are to repair from time to time, when the season will no 
longer admit of your carrying on the survey, to Sydney Cove ; from 
whence your are to return in the execution of these instructions, so 
soon as circumstances will enable you so to do. 

You are to be very diligent in your examination of the said coast, 
and to take particular care to insert in your journal every circum- 
stance that may be useful to a full and complete knowledge thereof, 
noting the winds and weather which usually prevail there at different 
seasons of the year, the productions and comparative fertility of the 
soil, and the manners and customs of the inhabitants of such parts as 
you may be able to explore ; fixing in all cases, when in your power, 
the true positions both in latitude and longitude of remarkable head 
lands, bays, and harbours, by astronomical observations, and noting 
the variation of the needle, and the right direction and course of the 
tides and currents, as well as the perpendicular height of the tides; 
and in case, during your survey, any river should be discovered, you 
are either to proceed yourself in the tender, or to direct her com- 
mander to enter it, and proceed as far up as circumstances will permit ; 
carefully laying down the course and the banks thereof, and noting 
the soundings, going on shore as often as it shall appear probable that 
any considerable variation has taken place either in the productions 
of the soil or the customs of the inhabitants ; examining the country 
as far inland as shall be thought prudent to venture with the small 
number of persons who can be spared from the charge of the vessel, 
wherever there appears to be a probability of discovering any thing 
useful to the commerce or manufactures of the United Kingdom. 

When you shall have completely examined the whole of the 
coast from Bass's Strait to King George the third's Harbour,you are, 
at such times as may be most suitable for the purpose, (which maybe 
seen on a reference to Mr. Dalrymple's memoir, an extract of which 
accompanies this,) to proceed to and explore the north-west coast of 
New Holland, where, from the extreme height of the tides observed 
by Dampier, it is probable that valuable harbours may be discovered. 

Digitized by 


w A VOYAGE TO {In England. 

Haying performed this service, you are carefully to examine 
the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the parts to the westward thereof, be- 
tween the 130th and 139th degrees of east longitude; taking care to 
seize the earliest opportunity to do so, when the seasons and preva- 
lent winds may be favourable for visiting those seas. 

When you shall have explored the Gulf of Carpentaria and the 
parts to the westward thereof, you are to proceed to a careful investi- 
gation and accurate survey of Torres' Strait, and when that shall 
have been completed, you are to examine and survey the whole of 
the remainder of the north, the west, and the north-west coasts of New 
Holland, and especially those parts of the coast most likely to be 
fallen in with by East-India ships in their outward-bound passages. 
And you are to examine as particularly as circumstances will 
allow, the bank which extends itself from the Trial Rocks towards 
Timor, in the hope that by ascertaining the depth and nature of the 
soundings thereon, great advantage may arise to the East-India Com- 
pany's ships, in case that passage should hereafter be frequented by 

So soon as you shall have completed th£ whole of these surveys 
and examinations as above directed, you are to proceed to, and 
examine very carefully the east coast of New Holland, seen by cap- 
tain Cook, from Cape Flattery to the Bay of Inlets ; and in order to 
refresh your people, and give the advantage of variety to the painters, 
you are at liberty to touch at the Fyees, or some other of the islands 
in the South Seas. 

During the course of the survey, you are to use the tender under 
your command as much as possible ; moving the Investigator on- 
ward from one harbour to another as they shall be discovered, in 
order that the naturalists may have time to range about and collect 
the produce of the earth, and the painters allowed time to finish as 
many of their works as they possibly can on the spot where -they may 
have been begun : And when you shal 1 have completed the whole of the 
surveys and examinations as above-mentioned, you are to lose no time 
in returning with the sloop under your command to England for 
farther orders, touching on your way, if necessary, at the Cape of 

Digitized by 


Portsmouth.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 11 

Good Hope, and repairing with as little delay as possible to Spit- 
head, and transmit to our secretary an account of your arrival. 

.During your continuance on the service above-mentioned, you 
are, by all proper opportunities, to send to our secretary for our in- 
formation, accounts of your proceedings and copies of the surveys and 
drawings which you shall have made, and such papers as the Naturalist 
and the Painters employed on board may think proper to send home ; 
and upon your arrival in England you are immediately to repair to 
this office in order to lay before us a full account of your proceed- 
ings in the whole course of your voyage ; taking care before you 
' leave the sloop to demand from the officers and petty officers the log 
" books and journals which they may have kept and such drawings and 
charts as they may have taken, and to seal them up for our inspection. 
And whereas you have been furnished with a plant cabin for 
the purpose of depositing therein such plants, trees, shrubs, &c, as 
may be collected during the survey above-mentioned, you are, when 
you arrive at Sydney Cove, to cause the said plant cabin to be fitted up 
by the carpenter on the quarter deck of the sloop you command, 
according to the intention of its construction ; and you are to cause 
boxes for containing earth to be made and placed therein, in the same 
manner as was done in the plant cabin carried out by the Porpoise 
store ship, which plant cabin you will find at Sydney Cove. 

You are to place the said plant cabin, with the boxes of earth 
contained in it, under the charge and care of the naturalist and gar- 
dener, and to cause to be planted therein during the survey, such 
plants, trees, shrubs, &c v as they may think suitable for the Royal 
Gardens at Kew ; and you are, as often as you return to Sydney Cove, 
to cause the said plants to be deposited in the governor's garden and 
under his charge, there to remain until you sail for Europe : And so 
soon as you shall be preparing to return home, you are to cause the 
small plant cabin to be removed from the sloop's quarter deck, and 
the one brought out by the Porpoise (which is something larger), to 
be placed there in its stead. In this last mentioned cabin the naturalist 
and gardener are to place the plants, trees, shrubs, &c, which may 
have been collected during the survey, in order to their being brought 

Digitized by 


12 A VOYAGE TO [/it England. 

home for His Majesty ; and you are, so soon as the sloop shall arrive 
at any port in England, to give notice of her arrival to His Majesty's 
botanic gardener at Kew, and to transmit to him a list and state of the 
said plants Ac, which the gardener employed under your orders i» 
to furnish you with for that purpose. 

Given under our hands the 32nd of June, 1801. 

(Signed), St. Vincent. 

To T. Troubridge. 

Matthew Flinders, Esq. J. Mar&ham. 

Commander of His Majesty's sloop 
Investigator, at Spithead. 

By command of (heir Lordships, 

(Signed,) Evan Nepean. 

The instructions were accompanied with the extract of a memoir 
from Mr. Dalrymple, respecting the winds and weather to be ex- 
pected, principally upon the south coast of Terra Australis. Also 
with the following Passport from the French government. 

Le Premier Consul de la Republique Fran£Aise, 
sur le compte quilui a etc rendu de la demande faite par le Lord 
Hawkesbury au Citoyen Otto, commissaire du gouvernement 
Frangais i Londres, <Fun Passeport pour la corvette Investigator, 
dont le signalement est ci-aprte, expedice par le gouvernement 
Anglais, sous le commandement du capitainc Matthew Flinders, 
pour un voyage de decouvertes dans la Mer Pacifique, ayant de- 
cide que ce passeport seroit accordc, et que cette expedition, dont 
Vobjet est d'e'tendre les connoissances humaines, et d f assurer 
davantage les progrh de la science nautique et de la geogra- 
phic, trouveroit de la part du gouvernement Frangais la surete 
et la protection nccessaires. 

Le Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies ordonne 
en consequence d tous les commandants des bdtiments de guerre de 

Digitized by 


Portsmouth.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 13 

la Republique, d ses agens dans toutes les colonies Frangaises, aux 
commandants des bdtiments porteurs de lettres de marque, et A tous 
autres qu'il appartiendra, de laisser passer librement et sans em- 
pechement, ladite corvette Investigator, ses officiers, equipage, et 
effets, pendant la duree de leur voyage ; de leur permettre d'abor- 
derdans les differents ports de la Republique, tant in Europe que 
dans les autres parties du monde, soit qu'ils soient forces par le 
mauvais terns d'y chercher un refuge, soit qu'ils viennent y recla- 
mer les secours et les moyens de reparation necessaires p&ur con- 
tinuer leur voyage. II est bien entendu, cependant, qu'ils ne 
trouveront ainsi protection et assistance, que dans le cos ou Us ne 
se seront pas volontairement detournes de la route qu'ils doivent 
suivre, qu'ils n'auront commis, ou qu'ils n'annonceront I'inten- 
tion de commettre aucune hostilite contre la Republique Franfaise 
et ses allies, qu'ils n'auront procure, ou cherche d procurer aucun 
secours a ses ennemis, et qu'ils ne s'occuperont d' aucune espece de 
commerce, ni de contrebande. 

Fait d Paris le quatre Prairial an neufde la Republique Franfaise. 

Le Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies 

(Signed) Forfait. 
Par le Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies 

(Signed) Ch 11 . M. Juried 

Signalement de la corvette. 

La corvette l'lnvestigator est du port de 334 tonneaux. 
Son equipage est compose de 83 hommes, outre cinq hommes de 

Son artillerie estde 6 carronades de i». 
a ditto de 181 
. 2 canons de 6. 
2 pierriers. 
vol.i. Ff 

Digitized by 



14 A VOYAGE TO [In England. 

Le soussigne, commissaire du gouvernement Frangais a 
Londres, certifie le signalement ci-des$us conform d la note qui 
lux a ete communiquce par le ministre deJSa Mqjeste Britannique. 

Londres le 4 Messidor an g. 

(Signed) Otto. 

1801. In consequence of this passport, I received directions from the 

Admiralty " to act in all respects towards French ships as if the two 
" countries were not at war ; and/' it was added, " with respect to 
" the ships and vessels of other powers with which this country is 
" at war, you are to avoid, if possible, having any communication 
" with them; and not to take letters or packets other than such as 
" you may receive from this office, or the office of His Majesty's 
" secretary of state." 

From His Grace the duke of Portland, I carried an order to 
the governor of New South Wales to place the brig Lady Nelson 
under my command, on arriving at Port Jackson ; and also one from 
the Admiralty, directing the governor, in his quality of senior naval 
officer, not to take the Investigator from the purposes of the voyage; 
but to assist me with all the means in his power to put them into 

So soon as my sailing orders were received, demands were 
sent on shore for provisions to replace what had been consumed at 
Spithead ; and they came on board next morning, when the ship 
was unmoored. We were able to stow a proportion of provisions 
for twelve months, bread excepted, of which only seven months 
could be taken, including a part in flour. Of salt meat I took for 
eighteen months, knowing that little reliance could be had upon the 
colony in New South Wales for that article ; and further to guard 
against any detriment to the voyage from a want of provisions, I 
left an application to the Admiralty for a general supply, for twelve 
months; sent after me, and lodged in the store houses at Port 
Jackson for our sole use. 

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Of the various extra provisions usually furnished as preserva- 
tives of health to the crews of His Majesty's ships going upon similar 
service, our supply was abundant ; and the surgeon was as liberally 
furnished with antiscorbutic medicines. 

The complement of the Xenophon had been seventy-five men; 
but on the name and destination of the ship being changed, the fol- 
lowing establishment was ordered. The names of the officers are 
added to the list, and also of the men of science who took part in the 


Astronomer, - 1 

Naturalist, I 

Natural-history painter, - 1 

Landscape painter, - 1 

Their servants, 4 

Gardener, - - 1 

Miner, I 

Supernumeraries 10 


Master, 1 
Surgeon, - 1 
Surgeon's assistant, - 1 
Master's mates and midship- 
men, 6 


Part of complement 16 

John Crosley. 
Robert Brown. 
Ferdinand Bauer. 
William WestalL 

Peter Good. 
John Allen. 

Matthew Flinders. 
Robert Fowler. 
Samuel W. Flinders. 
John Thistle. 
Hugh Bell. 
Robert Purdie. 
Thomas Evans. 
William Taylor. 
John Franklin. 
Thomas Bell. 
Nathaniel Bell. 
Kennet Sinclair. 
Sherrard P. Lound. 
James Wolsey. 
Charles Douglas. 
Robert Colpits. 
Russel Mart. 
John Olive. 

Complement brought over, 16 

Cook and mate, - 2 

Sailmaker and mate, - 2 

Armourer, - 1 

Master at arms, - 1 

Boatswain's mates, 2 

Gunner's mate, 1 

Carpenter's mates, 2 

D*. crew, • 2 

Quarter masters, 4 

Able and ordinary seamen and 

landsmen, 35 





Complement 83 


Sailmaker, 1 

Master at arms, 1 

Quarter masters, - 2 

Cook's mate, - 1 

Carpenter's crew, - 1 

Seaman, - K 1 

Deficient of complement 7 

Digitized by 


13 -A VOYAGE TO [In England. 

1801. The deficiency of seven, and the two young gentlemen more 

y * than allowed, left the whole number of persons on board to be eighty 
eight, at the time of sailing. 

Mr. Crosley, the astronomer, brought with him an assortment 
of instruments from the Board of Longitude; part for use at sea, 
and the larger instruments for making observations on shore, at such 
ports and bays as we might anchor in during the voyage. His 
time keepers were the numbers 543 and 520, and watch 465 of 
Earnshaw ; and the numbers 176 and 82 of Arnold. Amongst the 
instruments supplied to me by the Navy Board, which were uncon- 
nected with the above and .mostly intended for surveying, was 
Arnold's watch number 1736, sent for the purpose of being taken up 
rivers in the tender, or in boats. Its error from mean Greenwich 
time, at noon July 17, was » # 38", 71 slow, and its rate of losing per 
day 4", 41. This error and rate were given me by Mr. Bayly, 
mathematical master of the naval academy at Portsmouth, who had 
the kindness to take charge of the watch during our stay at Spithead. 

Digitized by 


Towards Madeira.-] TERRA AUSTRALIA 17 



Departure from Spithead. Variation of the compass. The Dezertas. , 

Arrival at Madeira. Remarks on Funchal. Political state of the 
island. Latitude and longitude. Departure from Madeira. The 
island St. Antonio. Foul winds ; and remarks upon them. The ship 
leaky. Search made for Isle Sable. Trinidad. Saxemberg sought 
for. Variation of the compass. State of the ship's company, on 
arriving at the Cape of Good Hope. Refitment at Simon's Bay. 
Observatory set up. The astronomer quits the expedition. Rates of 
the time keepers. Some remarks on Simon's Bay. 

On July 18 we sailed from Spithead ; and in the afternoon of the Saturday is. 
aoth, having a light breeze from the eastward, with fine weather, Monday, 20. 
our departure was taken from the Start, bearing N. i8 # W. five or six 
leagues. On the following day we fell in with vice-admiral Sir Tuesday, si. 
Andrew Mitchell, with a detachment of four three-decked ships 
from the grand fleet cruizing before Brest. It was gratifying to learn 
from the admiral, that although he had not dropped an anchor for 
seventeen weeks, there was not a scorbutic man on board ; nor any 
in the sick list, except from slight hurts. 

The variation of the compass off St. Alban's Head, had been 
observed by Mr. Thistle, the master, to be a8° 43' west, from ampli- 
tude ; off the Start it was 29 34/ from a wfestern azimuth, and 
*9° 3°' from amplitude ; but on the following afternoon, where the 
variation should have been nearly the same, azimuths gave 24*12' 
and an amplitude 23 43' west ; the mean 5 35' less than off the 
Start* The same compass was always used, and the ship's head 
was at west (magnetic), or within one point of it, in all the cases; 
but in the first observations the compass was placed on the binnacle, 

Digitized by 


18 A VOYAGE TO \Ft<m E^gUmd. 

1801. and in the last, was upon the booms. In order to ascertain clearly 
what effect this change of place did really produce, I took observa- 
Monday 27. tions a few days afterward with every compass on board, and Mr. 
Thistle did the same upon the booms, ten or twelve feet before the 
main mast, where the compasses were as far removed from any 
quantity of iron, as they could be placed in any part of the ship. 
The head was south-west by the steering compass, our latitude 
was 38° i # north, longitude 14* 18' west, and the results were as 
Variation froni an azimuth compass by Wal- 
ker, marked No 1 : mean of both sides * ms# 
of the vane, - 
From a ditto marked No. 2, - 
ditto marked No. 3, 
Walker's meridional compass, 
Ditto used as a common azimuth, 
Compass made by Adams, 


Thus a change of place from the binnacle to a little before the centre 
of the ship, produced an alteration of 4 37* in the mean variation, the 
same way as, but a less quantity than Mr. Thistle had found it off 
the Start, when the ship's head was west. The true variation I judge' 
to have been 23°, and that the observations on the booms showed 
a too little, and those on the binnacle s± # too much. 'The error in 
excess, upon the binnacle, appeared to continue so long as the ship 
was in the northern hemisphere and the head to the westward ; but 
it diminished gradually as we approached the equator, and the ob- 
servations on the binnacle and booms then nearly coincided. This 
example is sufficient to show the impropriety of allowing a variation 
upon the ship's course, from observations taken elsewhere than at 
the binnacle. 

• / 
25 47 


2fi 17 W. 

»5 35 

19 15 

24 4 1 

81 27 

*5 4 6 

— — 

25 51 

80 SS 

25 44 

21 9 

25 34 

20 57 W. 

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Awards Madeira.] TERRA AUSTRALIA » 

We continued our course for Madeira, with fair winds. Our J 8 ?** 


latitude on the 30th, was 30* g north, longitude 15° 31' west ; and Thursday*), 
in the afternoon Porto Santo was seen, bearing west-north-west; 
the wind then became light and variable, and soon afterwards died 
away. The variation observed on the binnacle by the master, when 
the head was south-west-by-south, was 22°45 # , but on the booms 
19° 51' ; the true variation being as I believe, 20° 51' west. 

It was calm on the 31st, and I had a boat lowered down and Friday 3i. 
went round the ship with the carpenter, to inspect the seams near 
the water line ; for we had the mortification to find the ship begin* 
ning to leak so soon as the channel was cleared, and in the three 
last days she had admitted three inches of water per hour. The 
seams appeared sufficiently bad, especially under the counter and at 
the butt ends, for the leak to be attributable to them ; and as less 
water came in when the ship was upright than when heeling to a 
beam wind, I hoped the cause need not be sought lower down. Be- 
fore hoisting up the boat, a small hawke's-bill turtlewas picked up ; 
and between this time and that of anchoring in Funchal Road, 
several others were seen, and a second, weighing about thirty pounds, 
was caught. 

Aug. 1, at noon, Porto Santo boreN. 11 W., and the rocky August. 
islands called Dezertas, from N. 65* to Si 85 W. distant three leagues. a***! *• 
The south end of these islands lies, by our observations, in latitude 
32 34' so" north, which differs less than one mile from its position 
in Mr. Johnston's chart of the Madeiras. There being little wind 
next morning, I went off in one of the cutters, accompanied by Mes- Sunday 2. 
sieurs Brown and Bauer, the naturalist and natural-history painter, 
to the southernmost island, called Bujto, which was not far distant. 
On the way, I shot several birds of the puffin kind, one of which 
had a fathom of small brass wire attached to its wing. The distance 
of the land proved to be more considerable than was expected ; and 
there being a current setting southward we did not reach the 

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Sunday 2. 


[At Madeira. 


shore until near three in the afternoon, when it was necessary to think 
of returning. 

A small ledge of rocks, which projected a little from under 
the cliffs at the south-west part of Bujio, afforded a landing place ; 
but it was impossible to ascend the top of the island. We saw no 
other animated beings than a few birds something like green. linnets, 
but which were said, at Madeira, to have been canary birds ; and 
the other productions were scarcely sufficient to afford amusement 
even to a naturalist. The cliffs over head showed marks of irregular 
stratification, and in some of the lines there was a red tinge, appar- 
ently of irpn. The base underneath was black and honey-combed, 
as if it had been in the fire, resembling in this respect the common 
stone at Funchal. 

We left Bujio well satisfied that, so far as we could judge of 
the islands, the name Dezertas, or Desert Islands, was well chosen ; 
and soon after dusk, reached the ship. There was then a good 
breeze from the north-eastward, with which we steered for Madeira, 
tacking occasionally during the night, to take advantage of the dif- 
ferent flaws of wind. At the following noon, the ship was under 
Brazen Head, which forms the east side of Funchal Road ; and being 
there becalmed, we towed in with the boats, and came to an anchor 
at four o'clock, in 29 fathoms, steadying with a kedge to the north- 
west. In this situation, which seems to be as good as any in the 
road, the bearings by compass were as follow : 

Brazen Head, - - - S. 71* E. 

Punta de Cruz, on the west side, - N. 85 W. 

Loo Fort, distant pne-third of a mile, N. 12 W. 
The north-east winds usually prevail at Madeira in the summer 
season, and sometimes blow very strong. To reach funchal Road, 
ships are accustomed to sail between the east end of Madeira and the 
Dezertas, before the wind. They are not very desirous of passing 
close to Brazen Head, where they would be becalmed, but keep off a 

Digitized by 


Funchal Road.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 21 

mile or two, in the skirt of the north-east wind, until they are off the isoi. 
town, or even off Punta de Cruz, where they generally find a m«^3. 
bVeeze from the south-west, which takes them to the anchorage. 
This south-west wind is the sea breeze of Funchal ; and during the 
time we lay in the road, it usually set in at eight or nine o'clock in 
the morning, and prevailed as far as three or four miles in the offing, 
till sunset. A variable breeze comes off the land in the night ; at 
which time it is recommended to ships to pass close to Brazen Head 
and tow into the road. 

We found his Majesty's ship Argo lying here ; and I waited 
upon captain James Bowen, immediately that the ship was secured. 
Lieutenant Flinders was sent, at the same time, to present my re- 
spects to the Portuguese governor, and to ask his Excellency's 
permission to purchase the necessaries of which we stood in need ; N 
as also for the scientific gentlemen to make such an examination of 
the natural productions of the island, as our short stay would allow. 
The first request was granted by the governor in polite terms, and 
accompanied with offers of assistance ; but an answer to the second 
was deferred until he should see me. 

This evening the ship was heeled three streaks, when it was 
found that she admitted more than three inches of water per hour ; 
whereas, when upright, it scarcely amounted to one inch. Next 
morning, therefore, the carpenters began caulking two seams above Tuesday 4, 
the copper, all round, whilst the seamen were employed in shifting 
the top masts and examining the rigging. 

By the assistance of Joseph Pringle, Esq., the British consul, 
I procured boats from the shore to be sent for our empty water 
casks ; and an ox was killed for our use, and wine prepared for 
embarkation. His Excellency, the governor, had appointed noon of 
this day to receive my visit ; and I waited upon him in form, acconv 
panied by the consul, who interpreted between us. The governor 
repeated his offers of assistance ; and on being made to understand the 
nature of the excursions which our gentlemen desired to make into 
vol. h G g 

Digitized by 


22 A VOYAGE TO [At Madeira. 

i8oi- the country, he granted his permission with the utmost readiness. 
Tuesday^. After I had answered some questions relative to the settlement of 
political affairs in the north of Europe, we took our leave ) and were 
attended out by the officers in waiting, and saluted by the guard. 
Thursday 6. On the 6th in the evening, our supply of provisions was 

received, and the caulking of the ship completed. The scientific 
gentlemen returned from an expedition towards the Pico Ruivo ; 
which is the highest of a ridge of mountains occupying the central 
parts of the island, and is said to be 5067 feet, or nearly an English 
mile, above the level of the sea. The ascent was found to be very 
difficult; and this, with the heat of the weather and limitation of 
their time to this evening, disabled them from reaching the summit. 
It was late when they arrived at the shore ; and in embarking abreast 
of the town, they had the misfortune to be swamped, and to lose the 
greater part of their collections and sketches, although the boat was 
managed by Portuguese watermen, accustomed to the place. 

The best landing is behind the Loo Rock ; but the stony beach 
in front of the town is usually safe in the summertime. It was so 
on our first arrival, until the strong eastern winds in the offing raised 
so much swell as to make it dangerous, even for people experienced 
in the management of a boat in the surf. 

The town of Funchal is placed at the foot of a mountain, which 
projects from the great central ridge ; and the houses being mostly 
white, they form a strong, but agreeable contrast with the back land. 
At different elevations up the side of the mountain, are scattered the 
country houses of the richer inhabitants, placed amongst groups of 
trees and surrounded with vines. These, with a convent dedicated 
to Our Lady of the Mountain , which, like the houses, is white, but 
partly hidden by foliage, give to the whole a picturesque and pleasing 
appearance from the ships in the road. The town is larger, and 
there was more trade and activity in it than I was prepared to expect 
in a small colony , where the students of the college and ecclesiastics 
of different orders form no inconsiderable part of the superior class 

Digitized by 


Funchal Road.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 23 

of inhabitants. Several British merchants reside at Madeira; their isoi. 
houses of business are at Funchal, but their favourite residences are xhureday c> 
upon the side of the mountain. I accompanied captain Bowen to one 
of these, the hospitable seat of Mr. Murdoch^ and thought it one of 
the prettiest places I had seen. The house of Mr. Pringle, the 
consul, was my home when on shore f indeed the politeness of our 
countrymen prevented me from experiencing the accommodation 
afforded to strangers at a house in the town, dignified with the name 
of hotel. Some of our gentlemen complained of its being miserable 
enough, even without the swarms of fleas and other vermin by which 
they were molested. 

His Majesty's ships Argo, Carysfort, Falcon, and transports, 
under the command of captain James Bowen, had arrived in Funchal 
Road about nine days before us ; having on board the 85th regiment 
under colonel Clinton. After making their dispositions, the two 
commanders sent to inform the Portuguese governor, that His Bri- 
tannic Majesty, considering the probability of an attack from the 
French upon the island, had sent troops to assist in its defence ; and 
they demanded permission for the forces to land. A council was 
called by the governor ; and it being agreed that even were they 
inclined yet no effectual resistance could be made, the permission 
was given, and a place assigned for the encampment of the troops 
to the west of the town. A part of the 85th was afterwards quar- 
tered in the Loo Fort and in that of St. Diego, which command both 
the town and the road; and the men were employed in putting 
these fortifications into a state of defence. 

These arrangements caused no change in the administration of 
the government, nor in the trade of the island ; but the governor 
was said to be not satisfied that his conduct would be approved. On 
the day of our arrival, he received intelligence of peace being con- 
cluded between Portugal and Spain, but that the war with France was 
continued; and before we sailed, His Majesty's sloop Voltigeur 
brought despatches from the Court of Lisbon, which directed the 
governor to receive the British troops ; and it was supposed that 

Digitized by 


24 A VOYAGE TO [At Madeira. 

1801. every thing connected with the defence of the island would be corn- 
Thursday 6. mitted to them. This was the state of things when I took leave of 
captain Bowen and of colonel Clinton. 

Water, wine, and fresh beef, were the supplies procured at 
Madeira. Wine for the ship's company was charged at the enormous 
price of $s. Sd. per gallon, and the beef at lod. per pound ; I there- 
fore took only small quantities of each. For good Madeira, we paid as 
much as £42. the pipe. Fruit and onions were in abundance, and 
probably were not of less advantage to the health of the people than 
the more expensive articles. 

The latitude observed in Funchal Road was 32* 37' 44," north. 
The longitude, as given in the Requisite Tables, is 17 & 15" west ; 
but in the Connoissance des Temps for 1792, it is laid down by a 
member of the Academy of Sciences, probably the Chevalier de Borda, 
at 16 eft' from Greenwich. Arnold's watch No. 1736, in my care, 
gave 16 22' 42", and the greatest longitude shown by any of the six 
time keepers was 16 54' 9,6". This was given by Earnshaw's watch 
No. 465, which had kept an uniform rate during fifteen months pre^ 
viously to its being brought on board. We made use of this watch 
to reduce some lunar observations taken a few days before arriving, 
and others after sailing, to the place of anchorage ; and the result 
was as follows : 

Ten sets of distances, east and west of the moon, 

taken by Mr. Crosley in Funchal Bay and after- , tt 
wards, with a Troughton's sextant, - 16 59 21 W. 

Eight sets,* east and west, taken by me with a 
Troughton's circle and two sextants, before and 
afterwards, - 16 51 28 

West longitude of Funchal by lunar observations, 16 55 24 

* Four of these are uncorrected for the erros of the lunar and solar tables. They 
were taken Aug. 29, on which day no observation of the moon was made at Greenwich ; 
and the errors observed on the 27th and 30th were so irregular, that no proportion can be 
made between them with any prospect of accuracy. Were the errors of the 80th applied, 
the longitude of Funchal would be 4' less. 

Digitized by 


Funchal Road.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 25 

We were therefore induced to prefer the 16 56', in the Connoissance isoi. 
des Temps, as being nearer the true longitude of Funchal from Thureday 6. 
Greenwich, than the 17* 6' 15" of the Requisite Tables. 

Every person had returned on board on Friday morning; and Friday 7. 
a young man, a native of Ireland, who had been sent here sick in a 
French cartel, applying to go the voyage, I ordered him to be 
entered, on the surgeon reporting him to be a fit man for His 
Majesty's service. 

On quitting Funchal Road, we were taken aback, at two 
o'clock, by the east-north-east wind, about two miles off Brazen 
Head. It blew so strong as to make it necessary to clew down all 
the sails ; and until next mohiing, nothing above close-reefed top Saturday s. 
sails could be carried with safety. At noon, the log gave 16a miles 
from Funchal ; but the cloudy weather did not admit of taking 

At daybreak of the 9th the island Palma was in sight, bearing Sunday 9. 
S. 72* E. ten or twelve leagues. *Albacores and bonitas now began 
to make their appearance, and the officers and men were furnished 
with hooks and lines, and our harpoons and fiz-gigs were prepared. 
This day I ordered lime juice and sugar to be mixed with the grog; 
and they continued to be given daily to every person on board, until 
within a short time of our arrival at the Cape of Good Hope. 

We carried fair, and generally fresh winds, until the 15th in Saturday 15. 
the morning, when St. Antonio, the north-westernmost of the Cape- 
Verde Islands was in sight. At eight o'clock, the extremes bore 
N. 69 E. and S. 13* W., and the nearest part was distant four miles ; 
in which situation no bottom could be found at 75 fathoms. A boat 
was observed near the shore, and our colours were hoisted ; but no 
notice appeared to be taken of the ship. 

The north-west &de of St. Antonio is four or five leagues in 
length; and rises abruptly from the sea, to hills which are high 
enough to be seen fifteen, or more leagues from a ship's deck. 
These barren hills are intersected by gullies, which bore marks of 

Digitized by 


26 A VOYAGE TO {From Madeira. 

1801. much water having passed down them. By the side of one of these 
Saturday 15. g»llies, which was near the place where we lost sight of the boat, 
there was a path leading up into the interior of the island. The 
south-west and south points are low ; they lie N. 14 W. and S. 14* E. 
and are five or six miles asunder. Between them, the land hollows 
back so as to form somewhat of a bay, which, if it afford good 
anchorage, as it is said to do, would shelter a ship from all winds 
between north and east-south-east. We did not observe any beach 
at the head of the bay, perhaps from having passed at too great a 

No observations could be taken for fixing the situation of this 
island; but in 1795, Mr. Crosley and myself made the high land 
near the south-west point to lie in 17 00' north, and by uncorrected 
lunar observations, in 25° is' west; which agrees well with the 
position of the north-west point, as given by captain Vancouver.* 
The variation from azimuth on the evening of the 14th, before 
making the land, was 13 51' west, and 13 3' this evening, when 
four leagues to the west of it; the compass being placed on the 
binnacle, and the ship's head south-south-west (magnetic) in both 
cases. The true variation here, at this time, I judge to have been 
ia # 24' west. Captain Vancouver observed ia° 3a', in 1791; but it 
does not appear how the ship's head was directed. 

Some distant land opened from the south point of St. Antonio, 
at S. 75* E. ; which I took to be a part of the island St. Lucia. 

During the three days before making St. Antonio, the wind 
varied from the regular north-east trade, to east-north-east, and as 
far as south-east-by-east ; and about the time of seeing the land, it 
dwindled to a calm. For three days afterwards it was light, and 
variable between north and south-east ; after which it sometimes 
blew from the north-west and south-west, and sometimes from the 
eastward. These variable winds, with every kind of weather, but 
Sunday as. most frequently with rain, continued until the 23rd, in latitude it* 

# Voyage round the fTorl^ Vol. J. page 10, 

Digitized by 


Towards tke Cape.] TEkRA AUSTRALIS. 27 

north and longitude 23* west; when a steady breeze set in from the isoi. 
south-westward, and the weather became more settled and pleasant, su^ 8 ^. 
The clouds were sufficiently dense to keefp off the intense heat of the 
vertical sun, but did not often prevent us from obtaining daily 
observations for the latitude and longitude. At the same time with 
the south-west wind came a swell from the southward, which made 
the ship plunge considerably; and so far opened her leaks, that she 
again made two inches of water in the hour. 

On the 87th, in latitude 6 # north and longitude 17^-° west, a Thursday^. 
noddy was caught, and next day a swallow was found dead in my Friday *s. 
sleeping cabin. This poor little bird had been our companion for 
three or four days before, and had become a favourite. It was 
generally seen darting past the lee scuttles and ports, apparently 
after the flies which were carried out by the streams of air ; some- 
times it alighted upon the boats which hung on the ship's quarters, 
and more than once rested itself in the cabin where, at length, it was 
found dead. 

The south-western winds continued to blow without intermis- 
sion, and drove lis, much against my inclination, far to the eastward, 
towards the coast of Africa. One or two attempts were made to 
go upon the western tack ; but this could not be done with any 
advantage until the and of September, when we were in latitude September. 
3 # 50' north, and longitude u£° west. The wind had veered gra- 
dually round, from south-west to south, as we approached the African 
coast, to the direction of which it kept at nearly a right angle. I 
had not fully adverted to the probability, that the winds blowing upon 
this coast would prevail to a greater extent at this season than at 
any other time of the year ; otherwise, as I wished to avoid Africa, 
I should have passed some degrees to the westward of the Cape- 
Verde Islands, and probably have carried the north-east trade to the 
12th, or perhaps to the 10th degree of north latitude; and in 8°, or 
at furthest in 6 D , the south-east trade might have been expected. 

Captain Cook, in his second voyage, experienced the same 

Digitized by 


28 A VOYAGE TO {From Madeira. 

1801. south-western winds, and was carried so far eastward, that he 

WedaeL «! crossed the equator in longitude 8* west. Monsieur de la P^rouse 

also experienced them, and both were here at the same season with 

ourselves ; that is, in the months of August and September, when 

the African continent had received its greatest degree of heat. 

Although I preferred to avoid Africa, it is by no means cer* 
tain that a good passage to the Cape of Good Hope may not be made, 
especially at this season, by steering round the Bight of Benin with 
the south-west and south winds. It is probable, that on approach- 
ing the meridian of Greenwich the wind would be found to return 
to the south-west, and perhaps more westward, and enable a ship to 
reach the 10th degree of south latitude before meeting the south- 
east trade ; in which case, the circuit to be made before attaining 
the western winds beyond the southern tropic, would be much short- 
ened. The East-India-Company's ships bound to St. Helena, do, I 
believe, now generally follow that route. 

The leakiness of the ship increased with the continuance of 
the south-west winds ; and at the end of a week, amounted to five 
inches of water an hour. It seemed, however, that the leaks were 
mostly above the water's edge, for on tacking to the westward they 
were diminished to two inches. This working of the oakum out of 
the seams indicated a degree of weakness which, ill a ship destined 
to encounter every hazard, could not be contemplated without unea- 
siness. The very large ports, formerly cut in the sides to receive 
thirty-two-pound carronades, joined to what I had been able to 
collect' from the dock yard officers, had given me an unfavour- 
able opinion of her strength ; and this was now but too much con-^ 
firmed. Should it be asked, why representations were not made, and 
a stronger vessel procured ? I answer, that the exigencies of the navy 
were such at that time, that I was given to understand no better 
ship could be spared from the service ; and my anxiety tp complete 
the investigation of the coasts of Terra Australis did not jidmit of 
refusing the one offered. 

Digitized by 


Towardatke Cape.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 29 

i The wind was at south when we tacked to the westward ; but i*>i. 


it shortly veered to south-by-east, and as far as south-east-by-south, Thursday 3. 
which enabled me to look up for the smaH Isle Sable, or St. Paul, said 
to lie in o° 25' south, and about i8y° west. I was desirous of ascertain- 
ing the true position of this, and of some other small islands, laid 
down in the neighbourhood of the equator. They are placed so 
much in the tracks, both of outward and homeward bound ships, 
that it was not improbable some one of the vessels missed at dif- 
ferent times, might have suffered shipwreck upon them ; and the 
hope that we might be the happy means of restoring to their country 
and friends some unfortunate fellow creatures, perhaps countrymen, 
was an additional incitement to look after them. 

On the 7th, our latitude was o° 43' north, and we expected to Monday 7. 
cross the equator some time in the following night. It was a part of 
my plan for preserving the health of the people, to promote active 
amusements amongst them, so long as it did not interfere with the 
duties of the ship ; and therefore the ancient ceremonies used on 
this occasion, were allowed to be performed this evening ; and the 
ship being previously put under snug sail, the seamen were furnished 
with the means, and the permission, to conclude the day with merri- 
ment. At noon next day, the latitude was o° 1/ south, and longi- Tuesdays, 
tude 17 7' west; so that the line had been crossed in nearly 17% about 
seven in the morning. 

From the longitude of n*, we had been constantly attended 
by that species of the pelican called man-of-war bird by our seamen, 
andfrc'gate by the French ; but not one of them was to be seen at 
this time, although we were drawing near to the supposed situation 
of St. Paul. At four in the afternoon, our latitude was judged to be 
o° 29' south ; and the course then steered was west, by compass, for 
a current of ten miles to the north had fully counteracted the west- 
ern variation on the two preceding days. On the 9th, the latitude wednes. 9. 
was o° 43' south, and longitude 18 35'. We ran northward four 
hours, finding the current had not prevailed as before ; and then 
vol 1. H h 

Digitized by 


» VOYAGE TO [fhm Madeira 

SeiiJmber * teerecl *** * e V^nSM of the island. Next day at noon, our situ- 

Thwidiir io. ation was in o° %%' south and «o # 5' west ; and seeing no land, nor 

any signs of being in its neighbourhood, I gave up the search after the 

island, and hauled south-westward on our way to the Cape. of Good 


In the morning, I had observed the variation with Walker's 
meridional compass, when the ship's head was W. by N. ( magnetic) ; 
upon the binnacle it gave 14 30', and on the booms 13 o' west. 
Thus the difference, arising from a change of place in the compass, 
appeared to diminish sensibly as we approached the magnetic equator. 
The true variation I judge to have been 13 11' west. 

During the' two nights of our search for St. Paul's, the quan- 
tity of sail was so reduced that not more than ten or twelve leagues 
should be passed between dusk and daylight ; by which means the 
view astern, in the morning, nearly reached to the horizon of the pre- 
ceding evening, and any thing, a little elevated above the surface of 
the water, could scarcely escape being seen from the mast head, 
more especially as we were fortunate in having distinct views to- 
wards each setting and rising sun. The look-out, also, was parti- 
cularly attended to ; for at this time was commenced the system 
which, in all similar cases, I intended to pursue throughout the 
voyage. A part of this plan was an order to the three warrant 
officers to take charge of the look-out betwixt dark and daylight, 
and to be answerable for the vigilance with which it should be exe- 
cuted, both in their own persons, and in those who were placed upon 
the same duty under them. The leisure usually enjoyed by this 
class of officers, particularly by the gunner and carpenter, I conceived 
to admit of this abridgment, without injury to their ordinary sea 

I had twice before crossed the equator, at the respective distances 
of twenty-six and seventy-three miles to the west of where our search 
for the Isle of St. Paul ceased ; and Mr. Thistle, the master, had 
crossed the parallel of *g south, in longitude m° 12', a few months 

Digitized by 


T+umds ike Cape.} TERRA AUSTR ALLS. 31 

before ; indeed if the Isle had existed between the longitudes of ss^^ber. 
so* and s£% it must have- been repeatedly seen. I therefore Thursday «x 
think it may be asserted, that there is no land between 17° and »5 P 
west, either in, or about the latitude of 95? south. The track of 
Mons. de la P6rouse cuts that parallel in longitude 16* ; and he saw 
no other marks of the vicinity of land than the man-of-war birds 
which had followed him for several days. If the presence of these 
birdabeany indication of land, I should suppose that there was some 
lying between the 11th and 16th degrees of west longitude ; and if 
such an island as St. Paul exist, it will probably be found within 
those limits. 

Having lost all hope of finding this island, I could have wished 
to recross the equator and run in the latitude of gg north ; in which 
parallel the isle Pennedo de St Pedro, sometimes also called St. Paul, 
is said to be situate. In Arrowsmith's general chart, it is marked in 
24 west longitude, whilst another authority places it to the west erf 
27 ,* but 1 considered that the search might carry me as far as 29°, 
and perhaps further ; and my orders being silent with respect to 
these islands, I did not think myself authorized to thus occupy so 
much time ; and we therefore hauled to the south-westward on the 
afternoon of the 10th, as before mentioned. On the following day, jewday 11. 
a gannet was seen, which seemed to imply tiiat our situation of i|? 
south, and 21 £° west, was not far removed from some island or rock 4 
for I do not recollect to have seen this bird at a greater distance 
from land than thirty leagues. 

The trade wind varied from south-south-east to east-south-east, 
and commonly blew fresh, with frequent squalls. The swell from the 
southward, with which these winds were for some days accompanied, 
caused the ship to work so much, that she soon let in as great a quan- 
tity of water on this tack, as shfi before had done on the other ; I 

* Voyage of La P house, page 50 of the London translation. 1 am lately informed, 
that Pennedo de St. Pedro lies in latitude 0° 56' north, and longitude %T $ wests thpt 
it makes like four sail of ships, and is covered with birds, hut affords no water. 

Digitized by 


82 A VOYAGE TO [From Madeira. 

% sp 1801# th ere f° re judged it advisable to alter the plan of keeping within 

Friday ii. seven points of the wind, and to go with it upon the beam ; and also 
to put in practice every means of lightening the upper works, for they 
seemed to be very inadequate to support the weight with which they 
had been unavoidably loaded. Two eighteen-pound carronades, 
stern chacers, were taken off the upper deck and struck into the hold ; 
the spare rudder, and a variety of other things which a want of 
room had obliged us to stow in the main and mizen channels, were 
taken within board ; and every exterior weight concentrated as much 
as possible. After this was done, the tremulous motion caused by 
every blow of the sea, exciting a sensation as if the timbers of the 
ship were elastic, was considerably diminished ; and the quantity of 
water admitted by the leaks was also somewhat reduced. 

Sunday is. , On the 13th, in latitude 4 44' south and longitude 23 17' west, 
a swallow, a gannet, and two sheerwaters were seen ; and from six 
to eight in the evening, the officer of the watch and myself thought 
the water to be much smoother than before, or than it was after- 
ward. Had it been in an unknown sea, I should have been per- 
suaded that some island, or shoal, lay at no great distance to the 
south-eastward of our situation at that time. 

The trade wind continued, with some little variety in its di- 

Sunday so. rection, to blow fresh until the 20th, when it became light, and some- 
times calm. We were then approaching the small island Trinidad. 
Many gannets were seen at twenty-four leagues off, but none at a 

Wednes. 23. greater distance. On the 23rd, the island was in sight ; and at noon, 
when our latitude was 2o # 1' south, and longitude 29 13' west, a 
peaked hummock near the eastern extremity bore S. 25 W., nine 
or ten leagues. The western extremity bore S. 29 W., and at first 
appeared to be a bluff head ; but it afterwards assumed the form of a 
conical rock, and was, in all probability, the Nine Pin of captain 
D'Auvergne's chart. One of the rocks called Martin Vas, was 
visible from the main top, and angled 49* 43' to the left of the 
peaked hummock ; its bearing was consequently very near S. 25 E. 
Mons. de la Perouse, who sent a boat on shore to Trinidad, lays 

Digitized by 


Toward* the Cape.] TERRA AUSTRALIA S3 

down the latitude of the south-east point at so 31' south, and longi- 1801. 
tude from lunar observations, 98 37' west of Greenwich. The lati- w«dJl #>. 
tude appeared to agree with our observations; but in the longitude 
there is some difference. According to Earnshaw's two time 
keepers, No. 465 and 543, which kept better rates than the remain- 
ing four, the longitude of the Nine Fin is 29 25^-' west ; which 
being reduced to the south-east point, will place it in 29 23', or 
46' west of the French navigator.* The longitude in captain 
D'Auvergne's plan of Trinidad, constructed 1782, is 29 55, or 32 1 
still further west. From two sets of distances of the star Altair to 
the west, and two of Aldebaran east of the moon, I made the longi- 
tude of the south-east point to be 29 19' west ; the difference from 
the time keepers, which I consider to have given the best longitude, 
being no more than 4'. 

Azimuths taken upon the binnacle in the morning, with three com- 
passes, and the ship's head at S. W. by S., gave variation 3*54'; and 
in the evening, at S. W., 3 50'; but next morning, when Trinidad Thurs.«4> 
was just disappearing from the deck in the N. 6o° E., other azimuths 
then showed the variation to be i° 35' west, the ship's head being 
S. S. W. ; it therefore appears, that there is a difference off the north, 
and off the south-west sides of the island. From the first obser- 
vations I deduce the true variation to be 4° 14' west, and from the 
last i° 50' west. Captain D'Auvergne marks the variation o° 45' 
west, in 1782; but under what circumstances it was ascertained, 
does not appear. 

The trade wind having again arisen from east-south-east, w« 
were enabled to make between eighty and ninety miles a day. It 
afterwards veered gradually round, by the north-east and north, to 

• The error of No. 465 was found, at the Cape of Good Hope, to be ltf 57",2 to the 
«ast, and of No. 543, to be 39* 2l",5 east, contracted in 96 days upon their English rates. 
To obtain the above longitude, a proportional part of the$e errors according to the number 
of days, has been applied to the keepers ; and the difference between them is then no 
more than 2". 

Digitized by 


84 A VOYAGE TO {From Jiadeira. 

iwi; the westward, and blew fresh ; so that cm the sgth, our latitude was 
^SJ'S. 3 1 * a ' ^ longitude a6° o' west. This was 17' to the south, and 
about 6* west of the situation usually assigned to Saxemberg; an 
island which has been frequently sought by the East-India, and other 
ships, in the place which it still occupies in the charts; and not find- 
ing it there, they have run a Yew degrees to the eastward, in the same 
parallel, but always without success. The opportunity which pre* 
sented itself of now adding 6° of longitude to the examined space 
and on the opposite side, I should have thought myself culpable in 
neglecting ; and therefore, having placed the ship in the supposed 
parallel of the island, we steered due east for it ; adopting the same 
regulations for the look-out at night, as when searching for St. 

We had seen an unusual number of pintado and sooty petrels on 
the preceding afternoon, as also of a brown bird, apparently one of 
the sea-swallow tribe, having a white belly and the forai and size of 
a woodcock ; and this evening it was reported to me from the mast 
head, and confirmed by others on deck, that a turtle was seen lying 
upon the water. These indications of land gave me some hope that 
Wednes. so. the long lost Saxemberg might be brought to light. On the follow- 
ing noon, the observed latitude was 30* 41' and longitude m # 46'; 
Oct be ^^ not ^ n S further had transpired to betoken the vicinity of land. 
Thursday i. Next day, our observations gave 30 34' south, and ao° s8' west; and 
I then steered east-south-east, a course which should have taken us 
almost directly over the supposed situation of Saxemberg, if the same 
current of 11' north had prevailed, as on the preceding day. But 
this not proving to be the case, our track lay a few miles to the 
south ; though sufficiently near for us to be satisfied of the non- 
existence of the island in the place assigned to it, if that could any 
longer admit of a doubt.* 

• At the Cape of Good Hope, in 1810, His Excellency die Earl of Caledon faroured, 
me with the following extract from the log bode of the sloop Columbus,— Long, master; 
returning to the Cape from the coast of Brazil. 

Digitized by 


Towards ike Cape.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 35 

The fresh western winds continued, with short intervals of i«oi. 
calm, as far as the latitude 33 23', and longitude 13° o' west; when Sunday 4. 
they ctied away, and a breeze sprung up from the eastward. With 
this wind we could do little more than look up for the isles of 
Tristan d'Actmha, whose bearing was then S. i6°E., and distance 
seventy-seven leagues. From the description given by sir Erasmus 
Gower* of the anchorage, and the convenience with which water 
may be obtained, and hS account of the animals which resort there, 
I should not have considered it to be lost time, had the wind made 
it advisable to put in at Tristan d'Acunha, for a few days ; but it 
veered round to the north-west, on the 6th, and we resumed our Tuesday e. « 
former course to the Cape of Good Hope. 

In the morning of the 14th, the variation by mean of amplitude Wednes. 14. 
and azimuth, was 25° 10' west ; the ship's head being E. by S., and 
our latitude 35 4/ south, and longitude 12 50' east. It is worthy of 
being mentioned, that in the year 1797, and near the same place, I 
observed the variation to be 19 40' west, on board His Majesty's 
ship Reliance ; and as the compass was upon the binnacle in both 
cases, the sole cause to which I can attribute this great difference is, 
tharthe ship's head was west, instead of E. by S. The true variation 
, could not be far from the mean of the two observations, since it was 
26 at the Cape of Good Hope. In the English Channel, the com- 

" September 22, 1809, at five p. nu, saw the island of Saxonburg, bearing £. S. E., 
" first about 4\ leagues distant : clear weather. Steered for the said island, and found it 
" to be in the latitude of 30° 18' south, longitude 28° 20* west, or thereabout. 

H The island of Saxonburg is about four leagues in length, N. W. and S. E., and about 
" 21 miles in breadth. The N. W. end is a high bluff of about 70 feet, perpendicular 
" form, and runs along to the south-east about 8 miles* You will see trees at about a 
" mile and a half distance, and a sandy beach/' 

The situation of Sternberg in the common tables and charts, was 30* 45' south and 
19° 40/ west, almost 9° of longitude too little ; and therefore it is not surprising that ships 
have missed it. At the time so many birds were seen, on the 28th, the Investigator was 
not more than eighty miles from the position of the island, as above given from Mr. Long. 

• Lord Macartney 9 s Embassy to China*, by sir G. Staunton, Vol. I. p. 198—201. 

Digitized by 


86 A VOYAGE TO [From Madeira. 

i8oi. pass on the binnacle had shown nearly 4 too much west variation, 
Wednes. 14. when the ship's head was at west ; but here, it gives at least 9* too 
much, with the head in an opposite direction ! This difference in the 
two hemispheres merits particular notice ; it is part of a series of 
apparent anomalies in the compass which have hitherto remained 
unaccounted for; but which seem reducible to one general cause, as I 
have attempted to show in the Appendix No. II. to the second volume. 
Friday 16. At daybreak of the 16th, we expecteS to see the high land of 

the Cape ; but the weather being hazy, it could not be distinguished 
until eight o'clock, when it bore north-east, eight leagues; being 
three leagues more than Earnshaw's pocket time keeper, in which we 
had most confidence, led us to expect, and four miles less than was 
given by my uncorrected lunar observations of the 14th p. m. 3 
brought forward by the time keeper. 

At this .time we had not a single person in the sick list, both 
officers and men being fully in as good health, as when we sailed 
from Spithead. I had begun very early to put in execution the 
beneficial plan, first practised and madte known by the great captain 
Cook. It was in the standing orders of the ship, that on every fine 
day the deck below and the cockpits should be cleared, washed, 
aired with stoves, and sprinkled with vinegar. On wet and dull 
days they were cleaned and aired, without washing. Care was taken 
to prevent the people from sleeping upon deck, or lying down in 
their wet clothes ; and once in every fortnight or three weeks, as 
circumstances permitted, their beds, and the contents of their chests 
and bags, were opened out and exposed to the sun and air. On the 
Sunday and Thursday mornings, the ship's company was mustered, 
and every man appeared clean shaved and dressed ; and when the 
evenings were fine, the drum and fife announced the fore castle to 
be the scene of dancing ; nor did I discourage other playful amuse- 
ments which might occasionally be more to the taste of the sailors, 
and were not unseasonable. 

Within the tropics, lime juice and sugar were made to suffice 

Digitized by 


Tbwards the C^.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. «T 

as antiscorbutics ; on reaching a higher latitude, sour krout and isoi. 
vinegar were substituted ; the essence of malt was reserved for the jy^ ^ 
passage to New Holland, arid for future occasions. On corisulting 
with the surgeon, I had thought it expedient to make some slight 
changes in the issuing of the provisions. Oatmeal was boiled for 
breakfast four days in the week, instead of three ; and when rice 
Was issued, after the expenditure of the cheese, it was boiled on the 
other three days. Pease soup was prepared for dinner four days in 
the week, as usual; and at other times, two ounces of portable 
broth, in cakes, to each man, with such additions of onions, pepper, 
&c. as the different messes possessed, made a comfortable addi- 
tion to their salt meat. And neither in this passage, nor, I may 
add, in any subsequent part of the voyage, were the officers or 
people restricted to any allowance of fresh water. They drank 
freely at the scuttled cask, and took away, under the inspection of 
the officer of the watch, all that was requisite for culinary purposes; 
and very frequently two casks of water in the week were given for 
washing their clothes. 

With these regulations, joined to a due enforcement of dis- 
cipline, I had the satisfaction to see my people orderly and full of 
zeal for the service in which we were engaged ; and in such a state 
of health, that no delay at the Cape was required beyond the neces- 
sary refitment of the ship, and I still hoped to save a good part of 
the summer season upon the south coast of Terra Australis. 

The usual time for His Majesty's ships to leave False Bay and 
go round to Table Bay, I found to be the latter end of September; 
but being then unacquainted with the precise time, and knowing of 
the loss of the Sceptre in Table Bay, on November 5, from a heavy 
gale at north-west, I determined to go into False Bay ; unless we 
should get previous information that it had been quitted by the 
squadron. At noon, the extremes of the land bore N. by W. £ W. 
and E. i N. The Cape Point bore north, three leagues ; and our 
observed latitude being 34 3a', showed the Requisite Tables to be 
vol. 1. I i 

Digitized by 


38 A VOYAGE TO [Cape of Good Hope. 

1801. erroneous in the position of this point ; but that 34, 33', as assigned 
Friday 16. to it by captain King, was correct.* 

At one o'clock we hauled round the rocks which lie off the 
Cape Point, and steered into False Bay. Near these rocks were two 
whales ; and one or more of what seamen call thrashers were en- 
gaged in a furious combat with them, at a less distance than half a 
mile from the ship. The sinewy strength of the thrasher must be 
very great ; for besides raising his tail high out of the water to beat 
the adversary, he occasionally threw the whole of his vast body 
several feet above the surface, apparently to fall upon him with 
greater force. Their struggles covered the sea with foam for many 
fathoms round. 

At three o'clock we got sight of the squadron lying in Simon's 
Bay. It consisted of His Majesty's ships Lancaster, Jupiter, Dio- 
mede, Imperieuse, Hindoostan, Rattlesnake, and Euphrosyne, under 
the command of vice-admiral sir Roger Curtis, Bart. The master of 
the Lancaster came on board to pilot the ship to a proper berth, and 
I went on shore to wait upon the vice-admiral. On showing my 
orders, and presenting an account of the supplies and the work re- 
quisite to. put the Investigator in the same state as on leaving Eng- 
land, I found that the naval magazines could furnish only some 
part, and that many articles, especially biscuit, were not to be. ob- 
tained ; but with great consideration for the service on which I was 
sent out, the commander in chief ordered every request to be granted 
either in the articles specified, or by substitution ; and a thorough 
caulking, both within and without side of the ship, being the work 
most essential to be done, a gang of caulkers, collected from the 
Saturday 17. squadron, was sent on board on the following morning. 

The water which is conducted in pipes to the wharf, for the 
convenience of shipping, was said not to keep well at sea ; and the 
master of the Lancaster, from whom this information was obtained, 
recommended, as much superior, that which drains through the 

• See Cook's third Voyage, Vol. III. page 484. 

Digitized by 



sand, from4he hills on the north side of Simon's Bay. I went, ac- 18 ^i- 


cordingly, to make an examination; and found that by sinking a Saturday 17. 
cask in the sand, with the head out and the upper hoops taken off, 
the water drained through the spaces between the staves, sufficiently 
fast for our purpose. This plan was therefore adopted; and the 
watering of the ship immediately commenced. 

Having seen this, and some other duties set forward under the 
proper officers, I accompanied Mr. Crosley, the astronomer, in 
search of a place where the observatory and tents could be conve- 
niently set up. The situation chosen was near a small rill on the 
south side of the bay, about three-hundred yards from the maga- 
zine ; and the permission of the military commandant being obtained, 
two tents, the observatory, and astronomical instruments were 
landed in the afternoon, with a guard of marines. The whole was 
placed under the charge of Mr. Flinders, the second lieutenant, 
who was also to act as an assistant in making and calculating the 
observations, for which he was qualified. The situation of the tents 
was tolerably well sheltered from the south-eastern gales, which 
begin to prevail at this season of the year ; but the quantity of sand 
put in motion by every breeze, was a great molestation, and proved 
injurious to the instruments. Besides this inconvenience, there was 
another attached to the situation which had not been foreseen. The 
road from Simon's Town to a place called the Company's garden, 
led close past the observatory ; and this was the sole ride or walk 
in the neighbourhood, which the inhabitants and the gentlemen be- 
longing to the ships in the bay could enjoy. From those of the first 
rank, who took their morning's ride, to the sailor who staggered.past 
on a Sunday, and even the slave with his bundle of fire wood, all 
stopped at the observatory to see what was going on. RamsdenV 
universal theodolite, set up for the purpose of observing transits, 
excited its share of attention from the curious. Some wanted inform- 
ation, some amusement, and all would have liked to see how the sun 
appeared through the telescope. 

Digitized by 


40 A VOYAGE TO {Gape of Good Hope. 

i8oi. By the end of October, our provisions and stores were received ; 


the sails had been examined and repaired on board the Lancaster, and 
vfererebent; and the caulkers having completed their work, die 
ship was fresh painted. Being anxious to commence the investiga- 
tion of the coasts of Terra Australis, the stripping of the masts and 
reparation of the rigging were deferred to King George's Sound, 
and no more was done at the ship than necessity required ; for I 
preferred passing the time necessary to a complete re-equipment 
in a port where astronomical observations and surveys could be at 
the same time usefully carried on, and the naturalists employ them- 
selves in a field almost unexplored, rather than in a bay already 
well known, and where the surrounding country had been so often 

Mr. Crosley had been frequently unwell during the passage 
from Madeira ; and after trying the effect of a few days on shore, 
he decided to remain at the Cape of Good Hope, and relinquish 
the expedition. The instruments supplied by the Board of Lon- 
gitude he agreed to leave in my care; after having consulted 
with the commander in chief upon the subject, and received his ap- 
probation. The loss of the astronomer was severely felt by me, both 
from being deprived in the surveys of his more accurate observa- 
tions, and from being called upbn to supply his place so far as was 
in my power. The duties of commander joined to the occupation of 
surveyor, left little time for other employment ; but through an in- 
crease of effort, and with the assistance of my officers, I hoped to 
carry on the surveys and fulfil the most essential parts of the instruc- 
tions from the Board of Longitude, at the same time. Of these in- 
structions, Mr. Crosley permitted me to take a copy. 

The rates of going with mean solar time of the four time keepers 

committed to my charge, were deduced by Mr. Crosley from three 

days observation of equal altitudes, with a sextant and quick-silver 

Sunday i. horizon, between the 21st and 37th of October. These rates, which 

he left with me, I extended to November l, by equal altitudes taken 

Digitized by 


False Bay.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 41 

on that day ; and their respective errors were deduced by allowing - 1801 / 
* h 13' 4P /7 >47 to be the longitude in time <xf Simon's Bay.* Sunday 1. 

Earashaw's No. 545, slower than 

mean Greenwich time, at noon k , „ n 

there Nov. 1, - - o 14 35,33 and losing 5,33 

No. 5«o, 34 i6>6» - - *5> 8 4 

Arnold's No. 176, 50 59,29 - - 8,96 

No. 89, - — - - — • 

No. 1736, watch, faster ai 90,03 - - *7>»7 

The watch was intended to be taken up rivers, and to such 
places as the ship did not go ; and in order to gain some knowledge 
of its probable performance, I wore it five days in the pocket. Its 
rate of losing during that time, was from n",59 to 8",79 per day; 
so that upon the average, it lost 7" less in the pocket than when in 
a fixed situation ; for the above rate of I7",a7 was what it kept in 
the box, during the last three days. Arnold's No. 89 altered its 
rate on the last day, from 9^98 to i'i8",68, without any apparent 
cause ; no rate could therefore be fixed for it, with any probability 
of its being kept. Of the excellent watqfr No. 465 of Earnshaw, 
being Mr. Crosley 's private property, we were deprived at the same 
time with the astronomer; he also took with him the reflecting 
circle, No. 74 of. Troughton, both of which I considered to be an 
addition to our loss. 

So soon as the corresponding altitudes of Sunday afternoon 
were obtained, I took on board the time keepers and instruments* 
with the tents and observatory. The ship was then ready for sea ; 
but the wind blew a gale from the south-eastward, which continued 
until Tuesday. It then fell calm, and we unmoored ; but before get- Tuesdays, 
ting under way, the same wind again set in, and obliged us to drop 
a second anchor. 

•In 1763, Mr. Mason determined the longitude of his observatory in Cape Town, 
from the transit of Venus, to be 18° 23' V east ; and the difference of longitude from 
thence to Simon's Bay, by the Dutch survey, is ti 00' east. 

Digitized by 


42 A VOYAGE TO [Cape of Good Hope. 

i sol. Through the kind attention of sir Roger Curtis, the commander 

November. , ° . 

Tuesday 3. in chief, the state of the ship and our provisions and stores were as 
complete as when leaving Spithead. The ship's company had been 
regularly served with fresh meat every day, beef and mutton alter- 
nately ; vegetables were not to be purchased, but we several times 
received small quantities, with oranges and lemons, from the naval 
hospital in Cape Town ; and a proportion of these for a week, with 
a few days fresh meat, were carried to sea. Two of my ship's com- 
pany, whose dispositions required more severity in reducing to good 
order than I wished to exercise in a service of this nature, were ex- 
changed by the vice-admiral ; as also two others, who from want of 
sufficient strength, were not proper for so long a voyage. In lieu 
of these, I received four men of good character from the flag ship, 
who made pressing application to go upon a voyage of discovery. 
Mr. Nathaniel Bell, one of the young gentlemen of the quarterdeck, 
having expressed a wish to return to England, he was discharged; and 
Mr. Denis Lacey, midshipman of the Lancaster, received in his place. 
Simon's Bay is known to be a large and well-sheltered cove, 
in the north-western part of the sound, called False Bay. Since the 
loss of the Sceptre in Table Bay, it has been more frequented than 
formerly ; and I found it to be a prevailing sentiment, that were it 
not for the advantages of Cape Town, Simon's Bay would, in every 
respect, be preferable for the royal dockyard, and the equipment of 
His Majesty's ships. It was remarked to me by an officer of discern- 
ment, captain of the flag ship, that instances of vessels being driven 
from their anchors by winds blowing into Simon's Bay, were exceed- 
ingly rare. He had observed that the strain upon the cables with 
these winds, was much less than with those of equal strength blow- 
ing off the land ; and he accounted for it from the water thrown 
into the bay by sea winds, rebounding from the shore and forming 
what is called an under-tow, which tended to keep a ship up to her 
anchors. This takes place in Simon's Bay, with the south-east winds, 
but not in Table Bay with those from the north-west, which blow 

Digitized by 


False Bay.] TERRA AUSTR ALJS. 43 

into it ; owing, in part, to the distance at which ships there ride from 1801 - 
the land, and apparently, also, from the under-tow passing out on Tuesdays, 
the eastern side of the bay, clear of the anchoring ground. 

The Cape of Good Hope cannot now be supposed to fur- 
nish much of novelty in the department of natural history, espe- 
cially to transient visitors ; but it still continues to afford much 
amusement and instruction to English botanists. It did so to our 
gentlemen, who were almost constantly on shore upon the search ; 
and their collections, intended for examination on the next passage, 
were tolerably ample., They were sufficiently orthodox to walk 
many miles for the purpose of botanisipg upon the celebrated Table 
Mountain ; for what disciple of Linnaeus could otherwise conscien- 
tiously quit the Cape of Good Hope ? In taking so early a departure, 
though it were to proceed to the almost untrodden, and not less 
ample field of botany, New Holland, I had to engage with the 
counter wishes of my scientific associates ; so much were they de- 
lighted to find the richest treasures of the English green house, pro- 
fusely scattered over the sides and summits of these barren hills. 

Digitized by 


44 A VOYAGE TO [From the Cape. 


Departure from False Bay. Remarks on the passage to Terra Australis. 
Gravity of sea-water tried. Cape Leeuwin, and the coast from thence 
to King George 9 s Sound. Arrival in the Sound. Examination of the 
harbours. Excursion inland. Country, soil, and productions. Native 
inhabitants: Language and anatomical measurement. Astronomical 
and nautical observations. 

November. J\j daybreak of November 4, a light breeze from the eastward 
* enabled me to quit Simon's Bay, after a stoppage of eighteen days. 
The high land of Great Smit's Winkel afterwards becalmed the 
sails; and we were no further advanced, at noon, than to have 
the Cape Point bearing south-west, at the distance of two or 
three leagues. On receiving the breeze, which came from the 
south-south-west, we stretched towards Cape Agulhas, veering ship 
Thursday 5. at eleven at night, on coming into 50 fathoms. This wind died away 
in the morning, and remained calm till noon ; the Cape Point then 
bore N. W. £ N., Cape False N. £ E., and our latitude was 34* g&. 
Near this situation, the bottom is a" greenish mud, at the depth of 
78 fathoms. 

The report of the guns % fired by the sq uadron in Simon's Bay, 
to commemorate the escape from gunpowder treason, was distinctly 
heard at one o'clock, when we were occupied in making sail to a fine 
breeze which had sprung up from the south-westward. At six in 
the evening, it blew fresh with cloudy weather ; the extremes of the 
land bore from N. so* W. to 58° E,, and we took our departure for 
New Holland. 

lieutenant Flinders observed azimuths this evening from the 

Digitized by 


Towards New Holland,] TERRA AUSTRALIA 45 

binnacle with two compasses; the ship's head was south (magnetic), isoi. 
and the variation found t6 be 26 13' west; and in default of observa- Thursday 5. 
tiofis on shore, I consider this to have been the true variation at the 
Cape of Good Hope in 1801. 

During our run across the Agulhas Bank, I did n6t find any 
current setting to the westward; but in the five days taken to reach 
the latitude 36? 30' and longitude 33 38', the ship was set sg' Xo the Tuesday 10. 
tiorth of the reckoning. The sw6ll which followed after the ship 
probably counteracted the eflfopt of the usual westwardly current ; 
and indeed it must have done something more, if our log were cor- 
rect, since the longitude by time keepers was then 30' a-head of 

I considered the parallel of 37 south, at this season of the 
year, to be sufficiently distant from the verge of the south-east trade 
to insure a continuance of western winds ; and to be far enough to 
the north, to avoid the gales incident to high latitudes. Having 
made this passage three times before, I was satisfied of the impro- 
priety of running in a high southern latitude, particularly when the 
sun is in the other hemisphere, and there is nothing else in view 
than to make a good passage ; not only from the winds there being 
often stronger than desired, but because they will not blow so 
steadily from the westward. In the latitude of 42% I have experienced 
heavy gales from the north, and from the south, and even from the 
eastward, in the months of June and July ; allowances for lee way 
were also frequent in that passage, and light winds or calms not 
uncommon. The parallel of 42 seems to be a very proper one, 
when the sun is in his highest south declination, and from that time 
until the middle of February; but in the opposite months of the year, 
I should prefer to run down my easting two or three degrees even 
to the northward of what was now chosen for the Investigator. 

It may not be improper to anticipate upon the voyage so far m 
as to state what was the result of keeping in the parallel of 37 , in 
the month of November. From the Cape of Good Hope to the 
vol. 1. K k 

Digitized by 


46 A VOYAGE TO [From the Capi. 

i8oi. island Amsterdam, the winds were never so strong as to reduce the 
Investigator to close-reefed top sails ; and on the other hand, the 
calms amounted to no more than seven hours in nineteen days. The 
average distance on the log board upon direct courses, for we had 
no foul winds, was a hundred and forty miles per day; and the 
Investigator was not a frigate, but a collier-built ship, and deeply 
laden. In the following twelve days run, from Amsterdam to the 
south-west cape of New Holland, the same winds attended us ; and 
a hundred and fifty eight miles per day was the average distance, 
without lee way or calm. 
Thra*. 12. On the lath, I took the opportunity of light winds to send 

down a bucket, fitted with valves to bring up water from a depth ; 
but having no thermometer of a proper size to go into the bucket, I 
could only immerse one after the water was brought up. In this 
imperfect way, the temperature at 150 fathoms depth was found to 
be 63°,!, differing very little from that of the water at the surface, 
which was 6g>,&. In the air, the thermometer stood at 6g°,6. The 
specific gravity of the water brought up was afterwards tried at 
King George's Sound, and proved, at the temperatare of 69 , to be 
1,026, taking that of the crystal-glass bulb, with which the experi- 
ment was made, at 3,150 ; and the specific gravity of the surface 
water, taken up at the same time, was exactly the same. The lati- 
tude of our situation was 36* 36* south, and longitude 38* 23' east. 
The mean inclination of the dipping needle, placed upon the cabin 
table, was 58 4' of the south end; and the variation, by mean of 
azimuths on the preceding evening and amplitude this morning, 
taken on the binnacle when the ship's head was S. E. by E., mag- 
netic, was 31° 47'; but the true variation, or such as would have 
been obtained with the head at north, or south, I consider to have 
been 29 22' west. 

Throughout the passage to the island Amsterdam, we were 
accompanied by some, or all of the oceanic birds usually found in 
these latitudes ; but not in the numbers I had been accustomed to 

Digitized by 


Towards Net* Holland.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 4T 

see them further south. The spouting of a whale was occasionally isoi. 
perceived, and became more frequent on approaching the island; the 
number of small blue petrels was also increased, and a few Cape 
hens then made their appearance. 

At five in the evening of the 34th, the mean variation from Tuesday *4. 
three compasses on the binnacle, was observed to be 23* 7' west, 
with the ship's head E. S. E., or ao° 4' true. Our latitude was then 
38 20' south, longitude 76 26' east; and at eleven at night, having 
nearly reached the longitude of Amsterdam, whose situation I 
wished to compare with the time keepers, we hove to, in a parallel 
between it and the island St. Paul. At five next morning, we steered Wednes. 25. 
southward to make Amsterdam ; but having reached its latitude, and 
no land being visible, our eastwardly course was resumed. The 
weather was thick, so that objects could not be distinguished beyond 
five or six miles ; and at noon the ship was found to have been set 
33' of longitude to the east of what the log gave. From these joint 
causes it must have been that Amsterdam was not perceived, if its 
situation of 38 43' south apd 77 40' east, as made in His Majesty's 
ship Providence, in 1792, were rightly ascertained. 

In passages like this, when fortunately made, it is seldom that 
any circumstance occurs, of sufficient interest to be related. Our 
employ mehts were to clean, dry, and air the ship below; and the 
seamen's clothes and bedding, with the sails, upon deck. These, 
with the exercise of the great guns and small arms, were our prin- 
cipal employments in fine weather ; and when otherwise, we were 
wet and uncomfortable, and could do little. It was a great satisfac- 
tion that frequent pumping of the ship was not now required, the 
greatest quantity of water admitted during this passage being less 
than two inches an hour. The antiseptics issued were sour krout 
and vinegar, to the extent of the applications for them ; and at half 
an hour before noon every day, a pint of strong wort, made by pour- 
ing boiling water upon the essence of malt, was given to each man, 

Digitized by 


48 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

i8oi. It was drunk upon deck; and with half a biscuit, made a luncheon 
November. f or ^fa Qfg^j^ ^j people. The allowance of grog was never 

issued until half an hour after the dinner time. 
December. O* 1 ^ e *>th of December, our latitude was 35° 10', and longi- 

Sunday 6. t^je it 4 19' ; which placed us about S.W. £ S. twenty-two leagues 
from the westernmost isles lying off the south-west cape of New 
Holland, according to their position by the French rear-admiral 
D'Entrecasteaux ; a traced copy of whose general chart of this coast 
had been furnished to me from the hydrographical office at the 
Admiralty. There were no names applied in this copy ; but in the 
charts of the French voyage, lately published, these isles are called 
lies St. Alauarn. 

Notwithstanding the nearness of the land, there were no signs 
of such proximity : no discolouring in the water, no sea weed, no 
new birds, and but few of the species before seen* The current had, 
indeed, somewhat changed ; for whilst, during the three preceding 
days, it had set N. i»° W. twenty-seven miles per day, on an average, 
it was found this day to have run N. 47° E. twenty-two miles. This 
change however could scarcely be thought a sign of land, since 
equal, or greater differences had occurred during the passage, and 
might arise, in part, from errors in the log. 
(Atlas, At two in the ifternoon, the wind being north-westward, 

Hate 11.) we j^ufed U p to make the south-western point of Leeuwin's Land, 
and bent the cables. At seven, land Was seen right a- head, bearing 
N. 14 E., at the supposed distance often leagues; and on sounding, 
there was 85 fathoms, coral sand. We stood for it until eleven at 
night, and then veered to the south-west, in 65 fathoms, same 

The examination of Nuyts' and of Leeuwin's Lands was not 
prescribed in my instructions to be made at this time ; but the diffe- 
rence of sailing along the coast at a distance, or in keeping near it 
and making a running survey, was likely to be so little, that I judged 

Digitized by 


Cape Leeuwin.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 4* 

it advisable to do all that circumstances would allow whilst the isoi. 
opportunity offered ; and I had the pleasure to find this slight devi- q^^ ^ 
ation approved at the Admiralty. 

At two in the morning, we had 80 fathoms, and veered towards Monday 7. 
the land. It was seen from the mast head at five ; and the highest 
part, the same which had been set in the evening, bore N. 12 W. 
This is the largest of the before-mentioned Isles of St. Alouarn; 
but at half past seven, we saw hills extending from behind, and, to 
all appearance, joining it to the main land. This supposed isle is, 
therefore, what I denominate Cape Leeuwin, as being the south- 
western, and most projecting part of Leeuwin's Land. The highest 
hill lies nearly in latitude 34° 19' south, and longitude 115* & east ; 
it is a sloping piece of land of about six hundred feet in elevation, 
and appeared to be rocky, with a slight covering of trees and shrubs ; 
but this cape will be best known from Mr. Westall's sketch. A piece ^^Su. 
of lower land was seen to the north-west, probably- a continuation view 1.) 
of the coast, and there are some rocky islets scattered on the south 
side of the cape. The largest of these islets, lying about four miles 
off, was passed before eight o'clock, at the distance of seven or eight 
miles, and seen to be surrounded with high and extensive breakers. 

On the east side of Cape Leeuwin, the land falls back north- 
eastward three or four leagues, and afterwards curves to the south- 
east, forming a large bight which appeared to be wholly exposed to 
the southern winds. The coast line, round the upper part of this 
bight, was not distinguishable ; but the hills at the back showed more 
of bare sand, than of vegetable covering. At ten o'clock, a low, 
black projection, forming the eastern point of the bight, bore east 
three miles; and the depth was 15 fathoms upon a coarse sandy 
bottom. We then veered round to the south-eastward, following 
the direction of the coast, with the wind at west-south-west and 
weather somewhat squally ; and at noon, our situation and principal 
bearings were as follow : 

Digitized by 


50 A VOYAGE TO {South Coast. 

1801. Latitude observed, - - 34 32^ S. 

Monday 7. Longitude by time keepers, - - 115 30 E. 

C. Leeuwin, furthest visible part, - N. 55 W. 

The low, black point, - - N. 4 W. 

Furthest extreme of the coast a-head, S. 53 E. 

The shore abreast was seven or eight miles distant ; and be- 
hind it ran a continuation of the same ridge of sandy hillocks which 
surrounds the bight, and it extended to the southern extreme. Over, 
this ridge were perceived, here and there, the tops of some higher, 
and less sandy hills, standing a few miles inland ; but the general 
aspect of the country was that of great sterility ; nor was there, as 
yet, any appearance of its being inhabited. 

Soon after four we passed the noon's extreme at the distance 
of four miles. It is a steep, rocky cape, named in the French chart, 
Point D'Entrecasteaux ; and is one of the most remarkable projec- 
tions of this coast. I make its latitude, from the bearings, to be 
34° 52' south, and longitude by time keepers 116° 1' east. A 
low rock lies two or thre^e miles to the east-south-east, from the 
point, and a patch of breakers nearly the same distance to the south ; 
and soon after passing the point, two other rocks, white and rather 
high, were seen lying from it five leagues to the south-east. At a 
quarter past seven, when the night closed in, 

The two white rocks bore N. »o° E. 

Furthest extreme of the land, like a steep head, N. 71 E. 

, The wind was then at south-west, and we stretched onward 
Tuesday 8. yntil one in the morning, before tacking to the north-west for the 
land. At day light, the ship was found to have been carried to the 
eastward, and neither Point D'Entrecasteaux nor the two white 
rocks were in sight ; but in the N. 19° E., about eight miles, was a 
head not far from the extreme set in the evening. It afterwards 
proved to be a smooth, steep rock, lying one mile from the main ; 
and is the land first made upon this coast by captain Vancouver, 

Digitized by 


Cape Leeutvin.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 51 

who called it Cape Chatham. Its latitude is very nearly g$* 3' south, ^j*\ 
longitude 1 16° 29' east, and it was sketched by Mr. Wjestall. Tuesday 8. 

Whilst stretching in for the shore, with the ship's head north- pj^ xvii. 
west-by-north (magnetic), I took azimuths with two compasses on view 2.) 
the binnacle; after which they were immediately placed upon a stand 
near the taffrel, and other azimuths taken. The variation resulting 
from the observations on the binnacle was 5*59' west, and from those 
near the taffrel 8° 24' west ; affording another instance of the effect 
produced by changing the place of the compass. In 1803, and at 
twenty leagues to the west of Cape Leeuwin, we had io° 4' variation 
on the binnacle, with the head south-east ; from which, and the above 
5° 59* \ the true variation off the cape, or such as would be obtained 
with the ship's head at north or south, should be 7 48' west.* 

At seven o'clock, we got sight of the two white rocks, which 
enabled me to take up the survey of the preceding evening; and we 
then bore away along the coast at the distance of four or five miles, 
with a pleasant breeze and fine weather. 

Some parts of the shore between Point D'Entrecasteaux and 
Cape Chatham were not distinctly seen. That which is nearest to 
the cape, lies in the line of N. 38 W. from its outer part, and pre- 
sents an intermixture of steep cliffs and small sandy beaches, with 
a back land moderately high, and better covered with wood than 
that before described. On the east side of Cape Chatham, the shore 
falls back to the northward, and makes a bight in which is a small 
reef of rocks. It then projects in a cliffy head, which lies S. 75 E. 
seven miles from the cape, and is called Point Nuyts in the French 
chart; upon the supposition, probably, that this was the first land 
seen by Nuyts, in 1627. Beyond this point, the coast trends very 
nearly east ; but forms several projections, some of which are steep 

* The mode by which these, and other observations made with the compass on the 
binnacle, are reduced to what is conceived to be the true variation, is explained in the 
Appendix No. II, to the second volume. 

Digijized by 


52 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1801. and others low ; and between them are sandy bights where small 
Tuesdays, vessels might obtain shelter from all northern winds. The hills 
lying at the back of the shore seemed to be barren, though 
trees grew thickly on their eastern sides; they are not high, 
but it was rare to perceive any thing of the interior country above 

At noon, the nearest parts of the coast were a steep, and a 
more eastern low point, both distant about four miles ; and from the 
bight between them was rising the first smoke seen upon this coast. 
Our situation at this time, and the principal bearings taken, were as 
under ; 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, 35 7 5. 

Longitude by time keepers, . - - 11650. 

Point Nuyts, with Cape Chatham behind, N. 75 W. 

Steep point, near the smoke, - N. 15 W. 

Furthest visible extreme a-head, - N. 84 E. 

Soon after two o'clock, we passed at the distance of five miles 
from a steep point which has a broad rock lying near it. This 
point, being unnamed and somewhat remarkable, I call Point Hit* 
Her; it lies in 35* 4/ south, and 1 17* 9' east. The coast extends from 
thence nearly east-by-south, without any considerable projection, 
except at the furthest extreme then visible ; and on coming up with 
it, at half past five, it proved to be the Cape Howe of Vancouver- 
There is another Cape Howe upon this same coast, named by cap- 
tain Cook, which makes it necessary to distinguish this by a descrip- 
tive adjunct, and I shall therefore call it West Cape Howe. The 
situation of this projecting cliffy cape is in $5° 8j south and 1 17 40' 
east. Beyond it the land trends north-by-east, four miles, into a 
sandy bight, in which there is a small islet; and further along the 
shore, which then stretches eastward and again becomes cliffy, 
there are two others. When the cape bore N. io° W. four miles, 
the highest of the Eclipse Isles was in sight, bearing E. 4 N. ; 
but " the small detached islet/' which captain Vancouver says 

Digitized by 


King George's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 68 

(Vol. I. p. 3a) " lies from Cape Howe S. 68* E., three leagues," isoi. 
could not be seen ; though it should have lain nearly in our track.* Tuesday a 

The wind blew fresh at this time, and a current of more than 
one mile an hour ran with us, so that, by carrying all sail, I hoped 
to get sight of King George's Sound before dark. At seven, we 
passed close on the south side of the Eclipse Isles ; but Bald Head at ' (At ^ n 
the entrance of the sound had so different an appearance from what view 3.) 
I had been led to expect, being a slope in this point of view, that 
the steep east end of Break-sea Island was at first taken for it. The 
error was fortunately perceived in time ; and at eight o'clock we 
hauled up round the head, with the wind at west, and made a stretch 
into the sound. It was then dark ; but the night being fine, I did 
not hesitate to work up by the guidance of captain Vancouver's 
chart ; and having reached nearly into a line between Seal Island and 
the first beach round Bald Head, we anchored at eleven o'clock, in 
8 fathoms, sandy bottom. 

King George's Sound had been chosen as the proper place in Wednes. 9. 
which to prepare ourselves for the examination of the south coast 
of Terra Australis, and I sought to make the best use of the advan- 
tages it might furnish. The first essential requisite was a place 
of secure shelter, where the masts could be stripped, the rigging 
and sails put into order, and communication had with the shore, 
without interruption from the elements ; but this, from captain Van- 
couver's chart and description, I did not expect the outer sound to 
afford. The facility of quitting Princess-Royal Harbour, with such 
a wind as would be favourable for prosecuting the investigation of 
the coast, induced me so far to prefer it to Oyster Harbour as to 
make it the first object of examination ; and in the morning, after 

• This islet, seen by captain Vancouver in the evening, must have been the highest of 
the Eclipse Isles; but from the apparent difference of its situation, was thought not to be 
the same on the following morning. The change in the variation of the compass, which 
had taken place on altering the direction of the ship's head, seeflg to have been the cause 
of this apparent difference. 

VOL. 1. h I 

Digitized by 


M A VOYAGE TO [South Cm*. 

ism. we had sounded round the ship and found her so placed as to require 
Wednes. 9. no immediate movement, I went in a boat for the purpose, accom- 
panied by the master and landscape fainter; the naturalist, and some 
other gentlemen landing at the same time, to botanise in the vicinity 
of Bald Head, 
nil^xvii ^ ea ^ Island, where we stopped in passing, is a mass of granite, 

view 4.) which is accessible only at its western end, as represented in Mr. 
Westall's sketch. After killing a few seals upon the shore, we 
ascended the hill to search for the bottle and parchment left by 
captain Vancouver in 1791 ;* but could find no vestiges either of k 
or of the staff or pile of stones ; and since there was no appearance 
of the natives having crossed over from the main, I was led to sus- 
pect that a second ship had been here before us. 

At Point Possession, on the south side of the entrance to 
Princess-Royal Harbour, we had a good view of that extensive piece 
of water. Wood seemed not to be abundant near the shores; and 
therefore a projection two or three miles to the south-west, which 
was covered with trees, first attracted my notice. The depth of 
water in going to it was, however, too little for the ship; nor was 
there any fresh stream in the neighbourhood. Some person, but 
not captain Vancouver, had nevertheless been cutting wood there; 
for several trees had been felled with axe and saw. Not far from 
thence stood a number of bark sheds, like the huts of the natives 
who live in the forests behind Port Jackson, and forming what might 
be called a small village ; but it had been long deserted. Going 
across from the woody point to the north side of the harbour, we 
there found 3 fathoms within less than half a mile of the shore; and 
an increasing depth from thence out to the entrance. The sound- 
ings in the entrance were from 5 to 7 fathoms; but the channel was 
too narrow to admit of getting in without a leading wind and much 
caution. . 

Thursd. 10. On Thursday morning, the master was sent to examine the 

• See his Voyage, Vol. I. page 40. 

Digitized by 


King George's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 65 

north side of the harbour for water and wood, and we got the ship isoi. 
under way to beat up to the entrance; the wind blowing still from wm&jio. 
the westward. At eleven o'clock, the anchor was dropped in 6 
fathoms, half a mile from Point Possession ; and as I was doubtful 
of the master's success, I went in a boat, accompanied by lieutenant 
Flinders, to examine Oyster Harbour. We carried 7 and 6 fathoms 
from the ship towards the entrance, until Michaelmas and Break-sea 
Islands were closing on with each other; after which the depth 
diminished to 5, 4, 3, and e| fathoms. On hauling westward, we 
got into six feet; but steering the other way, it deepened to seven- 
teen, the east side of the opening being then in a line with the middle 
of some high, flat-topped land, at the back of the harbour. Keeping 
in that direction, we carried 3, 4, and 5 fathoms ; and had 6 in the 
narrowest part of the entrance. Within side, the deep water turned 
on the starbord hand, but in many parts, there was not more than 
3 fathoms. 

As I proposed to make a new survey of King George's Sound, 
we landed to take a set of angles upon the small central island; 
the same which captain Vancouver describes (Vol. I. page 35), as 
covered with luxuriant grass and other vegetables ; and where he 
planted vine cuttings, water cresses, and the seeds of various fruits. 
There were no remains of these valuable gifts, although nothing 
indicated the island to have been visited since his time ; and, to our 
disappointment, the vegetation upon it now consisted of tufts of 
wiry grass and a few stunted shrubs, supported by a thin layer of 
sandy soil, which was every where perforated with rat holes. 

From the island, we rowfed in various directions, sounding the 
harbour; but the boat could seldom approach the shore within a 
cable's length, or the eighth part of a mile. On the south-west side 
there were two small streams, in one of which the water was fresh, 
though high coloured. Returning to the entrance, we landed on 
the east side, and found a spot of ground six or eight feet square, 
dug up and trimmed like a garden ; and upon it was lying a piece 

Digitized by 


56 ^ A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1801. of sheet copper, bearing, this inscription : " August 27, 1800. Chr. 

Thuwdayio. " Dixson— ship Elligood ;" which solved the difficulty of the felled 
trees, and the disappearance of captain Vancouver's bottle. On 
digging in this place, I found that fresh water of a high colour, but 
well tasted, might be obtained ; wood was abundant, and the depth 
of the entrance admitted of the ship being made fast to the shore ; 
so that this was a situation adapted to our purpose of refitment, 
provided the ship could be got over the bar. This point I was 
desirous to ascertain in my way on board, but the strength of the 
wind prevented it. 

The report of the master from Princess-Royal Harbour was, 
that water could be obtained at the north side by digging near the 
shore, at the foot of the highest hill; but that there was no wood at 

Friday ii. a convenient distance. I therefore sent him, next morning, to land 
the naturalists at the entrance of Oyster Harbour, and then to sound 
"the bar; and not being satisfied with his report, that there was not 
so much as fourteen feet, which the ship drew, when captain Van- 
couver had marked seventeen, I went to the nearest head, with a 
theodolite and signal flags, to direct his movements. No more, 
however, than thirteen feet could now be found vpon the shallowest 
part of the bar; and, consequently, the idea of refitting in Oyster 
Harbour was abandoned. The boat which brought off Mr. Brown 
and his party in the evening, collected a good quantity of oysters, 
and of the large fan muscles, from the shoals. 

The wind continuing foul for going into Princess-Royal Har- 
Saturdayis. bour, a wooding party was sent next morning, to a bight round the 
north side of the entrance; where the wood was found to split 
better than at some other places. Another party went to the same 
place with the launch, to haul the seine ; but the wind coming round 
to the eastward, the boat was recalled, and a kedge anchor and 
hawser put into it. We then weighed, and ran into the harbour 
under the top sails ; and at eleven, anchored in seventeen feet upon 
muddy ground, at one-third of a mile from the shore under the 

Digitized by 


King George's Sound.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 57 

highest hill. When the ship was moored, Michaelmas Island was isoi. 

on with the north, and Break-sea Island with the south point of the Saturday 12. 

entrance, and the highest hill bore N. E. by N. by compass. The 

least depth of water we had in passing the entrance, was 4 fathoms ; 

but to those who may wish to go in, the plan in Plate II, of the Atlas, 

and a good look-out from the mast head, Will be of more service 

than any written directions. 

So soon as the ship was secured, I landed with the naturalists; 
and after fixing upon a place for our tents, ascended the highest 
hill to take angles. Amongst other objects, I perceived in the bear- 
ing of N. 87 20' W., two distant pieces of water, at the back of the 
bight near West Cape Howe ; but whether they were lakes, or an 
inlet of the sea, could not be distinguished. Our tents, under the 
guard of a party of marines, were set up this. evening; and in the 
morning, the observatory and instruments were sent on shore, under Sunday is. 
the care of lieutenant Flinders, who had undertaken to assist me in 
performing the office of astronomer. 

Marks of the country being inhabited were found every tyhere, 
but as yet there was nothing to indicate the presence of the natives 
in our neighbourhood ; I therefore allowed a part of the ship's com- 
pany to divert themselves on shore this afternoon ; and the same 
was done every Sunday during our stay in this harbour. On Monday, Monday 14. 
the topmasts were struck, and our various duties commenced ; the 
naturalists ranged the country in all directions, being landed at such 
places as they desired ; whilst my own time was divided betwixt the 
observatory and the survey of the sound. 

Some smokes being perceived at the head of the harbour, Mr. 
Brown and other gentlemen directed their excursion that way, and 
met with several of the natives, who were shy but not afraid. One 
man with whom they had communication, was admired for his manly 
behaviour, and they gave him a bird which had been shot, and a 
pocket-handkerchief; but like the generality of people hitherto seen 
in this country, these mfen did not seem to be desirous of commu- 

Digitized by 


58 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

1801. hication with strangers ; and they very early made signs to our gen- 
'^SyTs, tlemen to return from whence they came. Next morning, however, 
we were agreeably surprised by the appearance of two Indians, and 
afterwards of others, upon the side of the hill behind our tents. 
They approached with much caution, one coming first with poised 
spear, and making many gestures, accompanied with much vocife- 
rous parleying, in which he sometimes seemed to threaten us if 
we did not be gone, and at others to admit of our stay. On Mr. 
Purdie, the assistant-surgeon, going up to him unarmed, a commu- 
nication was brought about, and they received some articles of iron 
and toys, giving in exchange some of their implement! ; and after 
a short stay, left us, apparently on very good terms. 
Thur8dayi7. On the 17th, one of our former visitors brought two strangers 

with him : and after this time, they and others came almost every 
day, and frequently stopped a whole morning at the tents. We 
always made them presents of such things as seemed to be most 
agreeable, but they very rarely brought us any thing in return ; nor 
was it uncommon to find small mirrors, and other things left about 
the shore ; so that at length our presents were discontinued. 
Wednes. as. I formed a party on the 23rd, consisting of the officers of the 

ship, the scientific gentlemen, and others, amounting to thirteen, well 
armed and provided for two days, in order to visit the lakes behind 
West Cape Howe. We walked along the shore to the north-western 
extremity of Princess-Royal Harbour, where several small runs of 
fresh water were found to drain in, from peaty swamps. Striking 
from thence into the country in a western direction, we had not 
advanced far when a native was seen running before us ; and soon 
afterward an old man, who hac^been several times at the tents, came 
up, unarmed as usual. He was very anxious that we should not 
go further; and acted with a good deal of resolution in first stopping 
one, and then another of those who were foremost. He was not 
able to prevail ; but we accommodated him so far, as to make a 
circuit round the wood, where it seemed probable his family and 

Digitized by 


Kmg Qeorge's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. W 

female friends were placed. The old man followed us, hallooing isoi. 
frequently to give information of our movements; and when aweda*/ss. 
paroquet was* shot, he expressed neither fear nor surprise, hut re* 
ceived the' bird with gladness ; and attended with some curiosity to 
the reloading of the gun. 

Our coarse for the lakes led us through swamps and thick brush- 
woods, in which our new acquaintance followed for some time ; but 
at length, growing tired of people who persevered in keeping a bad 
road in opposition to his recommendation of a better, which, indeed, 
had nothing objectionable in it, but that it led directly contrary to 
where our object lay, he fell behind and left us. We afterwards 
took to the skirts of the sea-coast hills, and made better progress ; 
but were obliged to recross the swamps and force oujr way through 
a thick brush, before reaching the eastern lake. 

This piece of water was found to be one mile and a half, east 
and west, and one mile in breadth; and appeared to receive the 
drainings from the numerous swamps round about. In coasting 
round the north side, to reach the south-western lake, we were 
stopped by a serpentine stream, upon which were two black swans; 
but they took to flight before we could get near to shoot them. 
After following the windings of this rivulet, some distance to the 
north-west, without being able to pass over, we struck inland 
towards the skirt of some rising hills ; and crossed the stream early 
enough to walk a mile to the south-west before sunset \ whe!n the 
convenience of dry ground, with wood and water at hand, induced 
us to halt for the night. 

On Thursday morning, we reached the south-western lake, Thursday^. 
and found it to be larger than the first. Its "water was brackish, 
which bespoke a communication with the sea ; and as there was no 
certainty that this communication might not be too deep to be passed, 
it was thought prudent to give up the intention of proceeding to the 
sea side; and our steps were retraced across the rivulet and round 
the northern lake. We then struck southward, and ascended the 

Digitized by 


60 A VOYAGE TO ISouih Coast. 

isoi. hills to the top of the cliffs facing the sea ; from whence I had an 
Thuw. u. opportunity of seeing the bight near Cape Howe, and the form of 
the lakes ; but no water communication was visible between them. 

Our course homeward was pursued along the sandy ridge at 
the back of the cliffs, where the want of water was as great, as the 
super-abundance had been in the low land going out. Towards sun- 
set, when Princess-Royal Harbour was still some miles distant, the 
natural-history painter became unable to proceed further, being 
overcome with the labour of the walk, with the excessive heat, and 
with thirst. To have detained the whole party in a state of suffer- 
ance, would have been imprudent ; and Mr. Brown and two others 
having volunteered to stay, we left them the scanty remains of our 
provision, and pushed forward to the tents, which we reached at 
eight o'clock. At midnight we had the pleasure to see our friends 
arrive, and the preparation made for sending to their assistance, at 
daybreak, become unnecessary. 

The country through which we passed in this excursion, has 
but little to recommend it. The stony hills of the sea coast were, 
indeed, generally covered with shrubs ; but there was rarely any 
depth of vegetable soil, and no wood. The land slopes down gra- 
dually, behind these hills ; and at the bottom, water drains out, and 
forms a chain of swamps extending from Princess-Royal Harbour 
to the lakes. Here the country is covered with grass and brush- 
wood, and in the parts a little elevated there are forest trees; 
nevertheless the soil is shallow, and unfit for cultivation. 
Wednes. so. On the 30th, our wooding, and the watering of the ship were 

completed, the rigging was refitted, the sails repaired and bent, and 
the ship unmoored. Our friends, the natives, continued to visit 
us ; and the old man, with several others being at the tents this 
morning, I ordered the party of marines on shore, to be exercised 
in their presence. The red coats and white crossed belts were 
greatly admired, having some resemblance to their own manner of 
ornamenting themselves ; and the drum, but particularly the fife, 

Digitized by 


King George's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 61 

excited their astonishment ; but when they saw these beautiful red- isoi. 
and-white men, with their bright muskets, drawn up in a line, they wedn<*. so. 
absolutely screamed with delight; nor were their wild gestures 
apd vociferation to be silenced, but by commencing the exercise, to 
which they paid the most earnest and silent attention. Several of 
them moved their hands, involuntarily, according to the motions ; 
and the old man placed himself at the end of the rank, with a short 
staff in his hand, which he shouldered, presented, grounded, as did 
the marines their muskets, without, I believe, knowing what he did. 
Before firing, the Indians were made acquainted with what was 
going to take place; so that the vollies did not excite much 

The tents and observatory were already struck ; and ^every 
thing being sent on board, we took leave of the natives, and em- 
barked with the intention of running into the Sound this evening ; 
but a change in the wind, to south-by-east, prevented it. This wind 
veered to east and north-east, and for a short time blew strong ; so isos. 
that it was the 3rd of January in the afternoon, before we steered Sunday 3. 
out of Princess-Royal Harbour. It was not my intention to pro- 
ceed immediately to sea; and I therefore took the opportunity of 
standing backward and forward in the sound, with the dredge and 
trawl over board ; and a variety of small fish were brought up. 
These were of little use, as food ; but with the shells, sea weeds, and 
corals, they furnished amusement and occupation to the naturalist 
and draughtsman, and a pretty kind of hippocampus, which was 
not scarce, was generally admired. 

In the evening, the anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms, abreast 
of the second sandy beach near a flat rock on the south side of the 
sound, almost in the same spot where captain Vancouver had an- 
chored in 1791. I think the Sound does not afford a more secure 
place, the sole points of exposition being between Bald Head and 
Break-sea Island, making an angle of no more than io° ; and as both 
wood and water are procurable here, though neither very good, 
vol. 1. Mm 

Digitized by 


02 VOYAGE TO [SotUk Co*$t. 

1902. a ship proposing to stay only a few days is under no necessity of 

Sunday *. having .recourse to the harbours, 

Monday 4. On the 4th, a fresh gale blew from the westward, and pre- 

vented me from moving the ship. A bottle, containing a parch- 
ment to inform future visitors of our arrival and intention to sail 
on the morrow, was left upon the top of Seal Island ; and the wind 

Tueaday 5. having moderated next day, and the weather become finer, though 
still squally, we then made sail out of King George's Sound, to 
prosecute the further examination of the coast. 

The refreshments we had procured, were fish and oysters. 
The seine was frequently hauled upon the different beaches ; but 
although it was done in the evening, round fires which had been 
previously kindled, little success was obtained in this way. With 
hook and line we were more fortunate, both along-side and from 
boats stationed off the rocky points ; and the whole ship's company 
had generally a fresh meal once in three or four days. Of oysters, as 
many were taken from the shoals in both harbours, as we chose to 
spare time for gathering. Our fire wood was procured from the 
north point of entrance to Princess-Royal Harbour, at the inner end 
of the long middle beach ; but the trees best calculated for sawing 
into planks were obtained at the easternmost of the two woody pro- 
jections on the south side of the harbour. A good number of planks 
and logs were taken on board, for making garden boxes to contain 
the most curious plants collected by the naturalist, and for a variety 
of other purposes. The fresh water, procured by digging near the 
tents, was a little discoloured, but good ; and it was sufficiently 
abundant for every purpose : its specific gravity was 1,003 at the 
temperature of 6g°. 

Captain Vancouver has described the country in the neighbour- 
hood of King George's Sound, and therefore a few observations 
upon it will suffice. The basis stone is granite, which frequently 
shows itself at the surface, in the form of smooth, bare rock ; but 
upon the sea-coast hills, and the shores on the south sides of the 

Digitized by 


Kmg Charge's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRAUS. 69 

Sound and Princess-Royal Harbour, the granite is generally covered ***v 
with a crust of calcareous stone ; as it is, also, upon Michaelmas 
Islatnd. Captam Vancouver mentions (Vol. I. p. 49) having found 
upon the top of Bald Head, branches of coral protruding through 
the sand, exactly like those seen in the coral beds beneath the sur- 
face of the sea ; a circumstance which should seem to bespeak this 
country to have emerged from the ocean at no very distant period 
of time. This curious fact I was desirous to verify ; and his de- 
scription was proved to be correct. I found, also, two broken, 
columns of stone three or four feet high, formed like stumps of 
trees and of a thickness superior to the body of a man ; but whether 
they were of coral, or of wood now petrifie d or whether they 
might not have been calcareous rocks, worn into that particular form 
by the weather, I cannot determine. Their elevation above the pre- 
sent level of the sea could not have been less than four hundred 

But little calcareous matter was found elsewhere than on the 
southern shores. In Oyster Harbour, a rather strongly impreg- 
nated iron stone prevails, but mixed with quartz and granite ; and 
in some parts of both harbours, a brown argillaceous earth was not 

The soil of the hills is very barren, though, except near the 
sea coast, generally covered with wood; and that of the plains at, 
the head of Princess-Royal Harbour, has been described as shallow, 
and incapable of cultivation. In the neighbourhood of Oyster Har- 
bour the land was said to be better, especially near the rivulet which 
falls into the northern corner ; and on the borders of a small lake, 
at the back of the long beach between the two harbours, the country 
was represented to be pleasing to the eye, and tolerably fertile. 

The timber trees of the woods consist principally of different 
species of that extensive class called gum-tree by the colonists at 
Port Jackson, by botanists eucalyptus. They do not grow very large 
here, and the wood is heavy and seldom fit for other than common 

Digitized by 


64 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

1802. purposes. Amongst the plants collected by Mr, Brown and his 
' associates, was a small one of a novel kind, which we commonly 
called the pitcher plant. Around the root leaves are several little 
vases lined with spiny hairs, and these were generally found to con- 
tain a sweetish water, and also a number of dead ants. It cannot be 
asserted that the ants were attracted by the water, and prevented by 
the spiny hairs from making their escape ; but it seemed not impro- 
bable, that this was a contrivance of nature to obtain the means 
necessary either to the nourishment or preservation of the plant. 

Amongst the animal productions, the kanguroo and cassowary 
hold the first ranks. The kanguroo appeared to be numerous, and 
of more than one species ; but none were caught. Three of therrf 
seen by me bore a resemblance to the large kind which inhabits the 
forests at Port Jackson ; and the cassowary showed nothing distin- 
guishable at a distance from the same animal at that place: both 
were shy ; as were the ducks, swans, and all the birds. 

Near Point Possession were found two nests of extraordinary 
magnitude. They were built upon the ground, from which they 
rose above two feet; and were of vast circumference and .great 
interior capacity, the branches of trees and other matter, of which 
each nest was composed, being enough to fill a small cart. Captain 
Cook (see Hawkesworth, Vol. HI. p. 195) found one of these enor- 
mous nests upon Eagle Island, on the East Coast; and if the magni- 
tude of the constructor be proportionate to the size of the nest, 
Terra Australis must be inhabited by a species of bird, little inferior 
to the condor of the Andes. 

Amongst the reptiles was a variety of lizards ; one of which, 
of the larger size, was met with by Dampier on the West Coast, and 
is described by him " as a sort of guano, but differing from others 
" in three remarkable particulars : for these had a larger and uglier 
" head, and had no tail : And at the rump, instead of the tail there, 
4< they had a stump of a tail, which appeared like another head; but 
" not really such, being without mouth or. eyes : Yet this creature 

Digitized by 


King George's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRALIA «5 

" seemed, by this means, to have a head at each end; and, which i«». 
" may be reckoned a fourth difference, the legs, also, seemed all 
" four of them to be fore legs, being all alike in shape and length, and 
" seeming by the joints and bendings to be made as if they were to 
" go indifferently either head or tail foremost. They were speckled 
" black and yellow like toads, and had scales or knobs on their 
" backs like those of crocodiles. They are very slow in motion ; 
" and when a man comes nigh them they will stand and hiss, not 
" endeavouring to get away. Their livers are also spotted black 
«* and yellow ; and the body when opened hath a very unsavoury 
"smell. The guano's I have observed to be very good meat ; and 
" I have often eaten of them with pleasure; but though I have eaten 
" of snakes, crocodiles, and alligators, and many creatures that look 
u frightfully enough, and there are but few I should have been 
'• afraid to eat of, if pressed by hunger, yet I think my stomach 
" would scarce have served to venture upon these New Holland 
" guano's, both the looks and the smell of them being so offensive." 
The animal is certainly of a singular form ; but it is scarcely neces- 
sary to say, that the merit of Dampier's description does not consist 
in being strictly accurate. 

The fish caught with hook and line were principally small 
mullet, and an excellent kind of snapper, nearly the same as that 
called wollamai, by the natives of Port Jackson; but these were 
larger, weighing sometimes as much as twenty pounds. 

Our frequent and amicable communication with the natives of 
this country has been mentioned. The women were, however, kept 
out of sight with seeming jealousy ; and the men appeared to suspect 
the same conduct in us, after they had satisfied themselves that the 
most beardless of those they saw at the tents were of the same sex 
with the rest. The belief that there must be women in the ship, 
induced two of them to comply with our persuasion of getting into 
the boat, one morning, to go on board; but their courage failing, 

Digitized by 


60 A VOYAGE TO [So*tk Coatt. 

1802. they desired to be relanded ; and made signs that the ship must go 

anuar?. ^ s |j ore to them. 

It was with some surprise that I saw the natives of the east 
coast of New South Wales so nearly pourtrayed in those of the 
south-western extremity of New Holland. These do not, indeed, 
extract one of the upper front teeth at the age of puberty, as is 
generally practised at Port Jackson, nor do they make use of the 
wotnerahy or throwing stick ; but their colour, the texture of the hair, 
and personal appearance are the same ; their songs run in the same 
cadence ; the manner of painting themselves is similar ; their belts 
and fillets of hair are made in the same way, and worn in the same 
manner. The short, skin cloak, which is of kanguroo, and worn over 
the shoulders, leaving the rest of the body naked, is more in the 
manner of the wood natives living at the back of Port Jackson, than 
of those who inhabit the sea coast ; and every thing we saw con- 
firmed the supposition of captain Vancouver, that they live more by 
hunting than fishing. None of the small islands had been visited, 
no canoes were seen, nor was any tree found in the woods from 
which the bark had been taken for making one. They were fearful 
of trusting themselves upon the water ; and we could never succeed 
in making them understand the use of the fish hook, although they 
were intelligent in comprehending our signs upon other subjects. 

The manners of these people are quick and vehement, and 
their conversation vociferous, like that of most uncivilised people. 
They seemed to have no idea of any superiority we possessed over 
them ; on the contrary, they left us, after the first interview, with 
some appearance of contempt for our pusillanimity ; which was pro* 
bably inferred from the desire we showed to be friendly with them. 
This opinion, however, seemed to be corrected in their future visits. 

Notwithstanding the similarity of person and manner to the 
inhabitants of Port Jackson, the language of these people is very 
different. We found their pronunciation difficult to be imitated; 

Digitized by 


King George's Sound.'] 



more so, indeed, than our language was to them. Several English 
words they pronounced perfectly ; whilst of such where an for an 
s entered, they could make but little: Finger, was pronounced 
bing-gah, ship, yip ; and of King George, they made Ken Jag-ger. In 
the difficulty of pronouncing the / and s, they resemble the Port- 
Jackson natives ; and the word used by them in calling to a distance, 
cau-wah! (come here,) is nearly similar to cow-ee ! The word also 
to express eye, is nearly the same. But in the following table, which 
contains all the words that, with any certainty, I was able to collect, 
the most essential differences will be found, both from the Port- 
Jackson language, and from that of the south end of Van Diemen's 
Land; and the words collected by Captain Cook it Endeavour 
River bear no resemblance to any of them. 



K .George's Sound, 

j Port Jackson.* 

Van Diemen's Land.f 











Mugui (Muidge, Cook) 

Cheek,or beard 







Pegui or Canan(Kamy, C.) 




Vaigui (Koygee, Cook) 




Mogude lia 





























The sun 




• From Collins* Account of the English colony in New South Wales, Vol. I. p. 010-61 1 . 
t Voyage de D* Entrecasteaux, par M. de Rossel. Tome I. p. 552 et seq. These wonfa 
are written after the French pronunciation of the letters. 

Digitized by 




[South Coatt. 


in. 1. 

Ft. in. 


7 6 

the great trochanter to its 


lower end - 1 5 


Length of the tibia 1 4 


foot - 10 

3 9 

The following anatomical admeasurement of one of the best 
proportioned of our visitors, was furnished by the surgeon, Mr. 
Hugh Bell : 

Full height 5 

Circumference of the head 1 
From the transverse nasal 

suture, to the posterior 

ridge of the occiput - 1 
From the small rim of each 

ear across the forehead 1 
From the nasal suture, over 

the nose, to the tip of 

the chin, 

From ditto, to the tip of the 

nose, - - - 
From the tip of the nose to 

the edge of the upper lip 
From the edge of the un- 
der lip, to the tip of the 

chin ... o 
Extent of the mouth - 

nostrils - 

lower jaw from 


5 2 



each angle - - 
Length of the arm - 1 
■ — fore arm - 1 

. — middle meta- 

carpal bone 

middle finger 
femur, from 








Length from the protuber- 
ance of the inner ancle, to 
the tip of the heel, - 

Ditto, to the end of the 

great toe - . - 
Circumference of the neck 


■ pelvis 
- arm 

— — — — — — elbow 



— — — — — — wrist 

thigh 1 

Circumference just above 

the knee joint - - 1 

of thekneejoint 1 


immediately below the 

knee joint 

leg 1 

the small 

'■ foot 













Our operations at the observatory were not favoured by the 
weather ; but a sufficient number of observations was obtained for 
all the purposes of navigation : 

Digitized by 


K. George's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 69 

The Latitude of the tents in Princess-Royal isos. 

Harbour, from three meridian zenith dis- anuary. 

tances of the sun , observed with Ramsden's 9 „ 
universal theodolite, was - - 35 « 5 south. 

Longitude from thirty-one sets of distances of 
the sun east and west of the moon, of which 
the particulars are given in Table I. of the 
Appendix to this volume, - 117 53 10 east. 

These being reduced by the survey to Bald Head, at the entrance 
of the sound, will place it in , „ 

Latitude - 35 6 15 south. 
Longitude - 118 o 45 east.* 
The mean rates of the time keepers, deduced from equal alti- 
tudes taken on and between Dec. 15 and Jan. 1, and their errors 
from mean time at Greenwich, at noon there on the last day of ob- 
servation, were as under : h , §i M 

Earnshaw's No. 543, slow o 21 46,69 and losing 6,46 per day. 
No. 520, o 51 2,81 16,72 

Arnold's No. 176, 1 o 45,46 9,26 

No. 82 went too irregularly to be worth taking. 
The longitude of the tents given by the time keepers on the 
first day of observation, with the Cape rates, was as follows : 
Earnshaw's No. 543, 11 8° 14' 49" east. 
5«o, 117 59 22 
Arnold's 176, 118 1 14 
The two first, which generally throughout the voyage shewed them- 
selves to be the best time keepers, were on a mean 13' tfi" to the 
east of the lunar observations ; but by using rates accelerating in 

* The situation of Bald Head, in captain Vancouver's chart, is 35° C 40" south, and 
118° 16' SO* east from lunar observations which were not corrected for the errors of the 
astronomical tables. The situation assigned to Bald Head in the voyage of the French 
admiral D'Entrecasteaux, is 35° 10" south, and 118° 2 4W east 5 but since the admiral 
passed it at six in the evening, and in blowing weather, an error of a few minutes nwy 
have entered into both latitude and longitude. 
VOL. I. Nn 

Digitized by 


70 .A VOYAGE TO [Storfft Coast. 

1808. arithmetic progression from those of the Cape of Good Hope to the 
new ones of King George's Sound, the mean of Earnshaw's two time 
keepers will then differ only 8' 19" to the east in forty-four days. In 
fixing the position of places from Cape Leeuwin to the Sound, these 
accelerating rates have been used ; and the longitude has been fur- 
ther corrected by allowing an equal proportion of the error, 8' 19", 
according to the number of days after Nov. 1, when the last obser- 
vations were made at the Cape of Good Hope. In the Appendix, 
the nature <rf these corrections is more particularly explained. 

The height of the thermometer, at the tents, as observed at 
noon, varied between 8o° and 64 . On board tthe ship, it never 
exceeded 70^°, nor was below 6o*. The range of the barometer 
was from 29,42 inches in a gale of wind from the westward, to 
30,28 inches in a moderate breeze from south-west. , 

Mean Dip of the S. end of the needle, taken on shore, 64 1 
On hpard, upon the cabin table, - 64 52 

The increase being probably occasioned by the iron ballast in the 
«* bread room underneath. 

The Variation given by three compasses at the 
observatory was 6r %*\* west, by Walker's 
meridional compass 5*25', and by the surveying 
theodolite 8° 17'; but upon the eastern part of 
the flat graiiite rock, on the south side of the 
sound, two theodolites gave only 4 1' west. On 
board the ship, at anchor off Point Possession, 
the variation from the three compasses on the 
bihnacle, when the head was south-eastward, 
was 9 28' ; or, corrected to the meridian, 7 12' 
west. It seems not easy to say what ought to 
be considered as the true variation ; but the 
mean of the observations at the tents being 
6 # 42', and on board the ship 7 12', I conceive it 
will not be far wrong if taken at - - 7 o' west. 

Digitized by 


King George's Sound.} TERRA AUSTRALIS. 71 

This is what I allowed in tracing a, base line upon the beach between 18 °2- 


the two harbours ; and the back bearings from, different stations did 
not vary more than a degree from it, except at the wst end of 
Michaelmas Island, where the variation, in one spot, was greater by 3 . 

Th^ above different variations show that the needle was 
affected by the rocks ; and there will be frequent occasion, in the 
course of the voyage, to point out similar anomalies in the observa- 
tions on land; for they were found to. take place upon almost all 
those parts of Terra Australis, where thfe basis stone is of granite, as 
here; and also in those where green-stone,. porphyry, basaltes, or 
iron-stone prevail ; whereas in the lime, or grit-stone countries, the 
needle did not appear to jsuffer any derangement. In the Appendix 
No. II. to the second volume, where the changes on ship bqard, which 
arose from altering the direction of the head, are explained, this sub- 
ject of the differences on shore is mentioned ; for they also were not 
without a certain degree of regularity. 

No set of Tide was perceived on board, either whilst the ship 
was in the Sound, or in Princess-Royal Harbour; nevertheless it was # 
sometimes found to run with considerable strength in the narrow 
entrances of both harbours. According to lieutenant Flinders' ob- 
servations on shore, during sixteen days, there was only one high 
water in twenty-four hours ; which always took place between six 
and twelve at night : for after, by gradually becoming later, it had 
been high water at twelve, the next night it took place soon after 
six o'clock ; and then happened later by three quarters of an hour 
each night, as before. The greatest rise observed was three feet two 
inches, and the least two feet eight inches. The accumulation was 
made in this manner : After low water, it rose for several hours ; 
then ceased, and became stationary, or perhaps fell back a little. In a 
few hours, it began to rise again ; and in about twelve from the first 
commencement, was high water. It was observed by captain Cook 
upon the east coast of this country,* and since by many others, 

* See Hawkesworth's Voyages, Vol. III. p. 224. 

Digitized by 


f 2 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

1802. including iriyself, that the night tide rose considerably higher than 
miliary. t j^ t ^ ^ ^^ ^ which is conformable to our observations in King 
George's Sound ; but with this difference, that in the day we had 
scarcely any tide at all. 

The base line for my survey of the Sound was of 2,46 geogra- 
phic miles, measured round the curve of the long beach between 
the two harbours. The other stations whence bearings were taken 
with the theodolite, were, — in the Sound, four ; at the entrance of, 
and within Princess-Royal Harbour, three ; and in Oyster Harbour, 
four; at each of which, a point with a circle is marked in the plan. 
The soundings were either taken in the ship, with simultaneous cross 
bearings, or in boats, generally accompanied with notices of known 
objects in a line, or the angles between them taken with a sextant. 

There are many small, but no very essential differences be- 
tween' my plan and that of captain Vancouver. The most important 
to navigation, is that in the soundings going into Oyster Harbour : 
I could find only thirteen feet over the bar, whereas he marked 
seventeen; a difference, however, which may not improbably have 
taken place between 1791 and 180.1. 

Digitized by 


PromK. George's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 73 


Departure from King George's Sound. Coast from thence to the Archi- 
pelago of the Recherche. Discovery of Lucky Bay and Thistle's Cove. 
The surrounding country, and islands of the Archipelago. Astrono- 
mical and nautical observations. Goose-Island Bay. A salt lake. 
Nautical observations. Coast from the Archipelago to the end of Nuyts' 
Land. Arrival in a bay of the unknown coast. Remarks on the pre- 
ceding examination. 

In running along that part of the South Coast which lies to the 1802. 
west of King George's Sound, I had endeavoured to keep so close in Januax 7- 
with the land that the breaking water on the shore should be visible . 
from the ship's deck ; by which means our supposed distance would 
be little subject to error, and no river or opening could escape being 
seen. This close proximity could not, however, be obtained in every 
part, especially where the coast retreated far back ; but it was always 
attempted where practicable and unattended with much danger or 
loss of time ; and when it could not be done, I was commonly at the 
mast head with a glass. All the bearings were laid down so soon 
as taken, whilst the land was in sight ; and before retiring to rest, 
I made it a practice to finish up the rough chart for the day, as also 
my journals of astronomical observations, of bearings, and of remarks. 
When we hauled off from the coast at night, every precaution was 
taken to come in with the same point in the morning, as soon after 
daylight as practicable ; and when the situation of the ship, rela- 
tively to the land of the preceding evening was ascertained, our 
route along the coast was resumed. This plan, to see and lay down 
every thing myself, required constant attention and much labour, 

Digitized by 


74 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1S02. but was absolutely necessary to obtaining that accuracy of which I 
was desirous ; and now, on recommencing the survey from King 
George's Sound to the eastward, I persevered in the same system ; 
and it was adhered to, although not particularly mentioned, in all 
the succeeding part of the voyage, 
Tuesday 5. On the 5th of January, in the morning, we got under way 

Plate 1 !?) ^ rom ^ e S° mM ', having a fresh wind from the westward and squally 
weather. I steered between Michaelmas Island and the main, in 
order to explore better that part of the Sound, and ascertain the ex- 
tent of a shoal running off from the north-west end of the island. 
It was found to run out not further than half a mile, at which distance 
we passed in 5 fathoms water ; and at noon, when the east end 
of Break-sea Island bore S. 30 W., we had 33 fathoms. 

Mount Gardner is a high, conic-shaped hill, apparently of 
granite, very well delineated in captain Vancouver's atlas. It 
stands upon a projecting cape, round which the shore falls back to 
the northward, forming a sandy bight where there appeared to be 
shelter from western winds ; indeed, as the coast line was not dis- 
tinctly seen round the south-west corner of the bight, it is possible 
there may be some small inlet in that part. 

The south end of an island, called He Pel6e (Bald Island) by 
D'Entrecasteaux, opened round the cape of Mount Gardner at 
N. 6g° E. The French navigator having passed without side of this 
island, I steered within, through a passage of a short mile wide ; 
and had 17 fathoms for the shoalest water, on a sandy bottom. Bald 
Island is of moderate elevation, and barren, as- its name implies; it 
is about two-and-half miles in length, and the south end lies in 
34° 55' south, and 11 8° *g' east. It lies off a rocky projection of 
the main land, at which terminates a -ridge of mountain extending 
three leagues along th*> shore from the bight behind Mount Gardner. 
There are a number of small peaks upon the top of this ridge, which 
induced me to give it the name Mount Manypeak. 

After clearing the passage of Bald Island, I found the shore 

Digitized by 


From. J5T. George's Sound.'] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 75 

to trend north-eastward, and to be low and sandy ; but at the dis- i*». 


tance of eight leagues inland, there was a chain of rugged raoun- Tuesday 5. 
tains, of which the eastern and highest peak, called Mdknt Rugged, 
lies N. 1 1£° W. from the passage. • At six, we came up with a stecj) 
rock, one mile from the main, and then hauled to the wind, offshore, 
for the night. This lump, which appeared to be of granite, I called 
Haul-ojjF Rock ; it lies in 31 43' south, and 118 3$' east, and two 
leagues to the south-west of a cliffy point which bears the name of 
Cape Riche in the French chart. 

At one in the morning, being seven or eight leagues from the wednei. 6. 
coast and in 45 fathoms, we tacked ship towards the laiid, having a 
fresh breeze at west-south-west, with fine weather. HSul•^Dlff Rock 
bore N. 77 W M three or four miles, at six, and we then bore away 
along the coast. Beyond Cjipe Riche the shore forms a sandy bight, 
in which is a small island ; and on the north side of another cliffy 
projection, four leagues further, there is a similar falling back of the 
coast, where it is probable there is also good {shelter fdr boats, if 
not a small inlet. At noon, a projecting head two miles long, which, 
from the lumps of rock at the top, I called Cape Knob, was three 
miles distant ; and our observations and bearings of the land were 
then as under ; 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, 34 35 20 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 11915 

The cliffy projection past Cape Riche, 

with Mount Rugged behind it, ^ - N. 75 W. 

Two rocks, distant 7 or 8 miles, - N 56 W. 

Cape Knob, eastern extremity, - N. 11 E. 

A cliffy projection further eastward, - N. 4^ E. 

One of the Doubtful Isles, - N. 54 E. 

The coast is sandy on both sides of Cape Knob, but especially on the 
west side, where the hillocks at the back of the shore arej little else 
than bare sand. 

At four o'clock we had passed the Point Hood of Vancouver; 
and seeing a channel of nearly a mile in width, between it and the 

Digitized by 


76 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

i8<«. two outer of his Doubtful Islands, steered through it with soundings 
We^es?6. fr° m so to s 4 fathoms. I then hauled up south-westward, along 
the inner island and point, and sent away the master to sound 
between them ; it being my intention to anchor, if a sufficient depth 
should be found for the ship to escape in case the wind came to blow 
from the eastward : it was then light at south-east-by-south. Mr. 
Thistle found the opening to be very narrow, and no more than 2 
fathoms in the shoalest part; we therefore stood out, repassing 
within a small black islet, upon which were some seals. At eight, 
tacked to the southward, and weathered the Doubtful Islands. 

On the north side of the isles and of Point Hood, the shore 
falls back five or six miles to the west-south-west before it curves 
northward, and affords good shelter against all winds which do not 
blow strong from between north-east and east. At the time we 
stood out of the bay, the ship was three miles within the outermost 
islands, and not more than a cable's length from the shore of Point 
Hood, and we had 7^ fathoms, sandy bottom. The point and islands 
are steep and rocky, but the western shores of this great bay are 
mostly sandy beaches: On the north-western and north sides, there 
are some masses of tolerably high land which appeared to be granitic; 
and for distinction in the survey, they are called West , Middle, and 
East Mount Barren. 

The wind was variable between east and north-by-east, during 
Thursday 7. the night. At day break, the three mounts were in sight, and the 
north end of the Doubtful Isles bore N. 74 W. three leagues. As 
the wind veered round to the west and southward, we steered more 
in for the north side of Doubtful-Island Bay; and at noon, our 
situation and the bearings of the land were these : , „ 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, - 34 16 40 
Longitude by time keepers, - - 119 47 

Doubtful Isles, south extreme, dist. 11 miles, S. 55 W. 
West Mount Barren, - - - N. 77^ W. 

Middled . - - - - N. 25 W. 

East d°., the furthest visible land, - N. 28 E, 

Digitized by 


From K. George's Sound.] TERRA AUSTRALIA W 

Our course was directed to the northward, with the wind 1802. 
at south-east-by-south ; but seeing the appearance of an opening in Thm«d^ # 7. 
the north-west corner of the bay, with smokes rising there, we 
steered north-west for it. In an hour the low land was seen from 
the mast head to extend across the supposed opening, and we then 
hauled up east-by-north, to the wind, at the distance of five or six 
miles from the high, rocky shore between the Middle and East 
Mount Barren. At seven in the evening, the eastern mount bore 
N. 44° W., three leagues, and the coast, which from thence becomes 
sandy, was seen as far as N. 76* E. A small reef, one of two before 
laid down both by Vancouver and D'Entrecasteaux, was then ob- 
served three or four miles to seaward. It was important to get 
sight of this reef before dark, for we should otherwise have been at 
great uncertainty during the night, more especially as the surf upon 
it broke only at times. 

The wind being at south-by-east, we tacked and stood west- 
ward, nearly in our afternoon's track, until midnight ; and the breeze 
having then veered to south-west, we were able to stretch off south- 
south-east, to windward of the breakers. At half past five in the 
morning, East Mount Barren was four leagues distant to the north- Friday 8* 
ward, and our course was resumed along the shore. The breakers 
were passed alt the distance of two miles, and the mount was set 
over them, bearing N. 38° W. at seven o'clock. The second small 
reef lies nearly east-north-east from the first ; and was left three 
miles to the northward. 

On the preceding evening, a small rocky island had been seen 
indistinctly from the mast head, and it now again came in sight to 
the eastward. The French ships had passed without side of this 
island, and I therefore steered to go between it and the main land ; 
but breaking water was seen to extend so far to the north, that 
the uncertainty of finding a passage made the attempt too dangerous 
with the wind right aft. We accordingly hauled up to windward of 
the island ; and had 38 fathoms between it and a small reef lying: 
vol. 1. O o 

Digitized by 


. i A VOYAGE TO [South Coatt. 

1803. S. fr** W., between two and three miles from it. The island is low, 
Frid^i; smooth, and sterile, and is frequented by seals ; its latitude is, 34^6' 
and longitude 1 90° 28', and it lies eight or nine miles from the main land. 
At noon, the rocky island was near ten miles astern, and a 
cluster of four small islets appeared in the offing at the distance of 
four leagues. The nearest part of the main land, seven or eight 
miles distant, was low and sandy, as it had been all the way from 
East Mount Barren, and continued to be to the furthest extreme 
visible from the mast head ; there were, however, a few scattered 
sandy hillocks on the shore, but nothing could be seen of the back 
country. Our situation, and the bearings taken at this time were as 
under: , „ 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, 34 1 48 
Longitude by time keepers, - •» 120 38 
East Mount Barren, - - - N. 8o£ W. 
The small island astern, - - S. 65 W. 

Four islets in the offing, - - S. 77 E. 
Mast-head extreme of the coast, - N. 59 E. 
We passed at nearly an equal distance between the four rocky 
islets and the main land, that is to say, at six or eight miles from 
each ; and at five o'clock were abreast of a projecting part of the 
coast, where the sandy hills seemed to form white cliffs. This is 
called Cap des Basses (Shoal Cape) in the French chart; and we 
saw, in fact, an islet under the land, surrounded with much broken 
water, and the soundings decreased from 35 to 25 fathoms soon 
after passing it at the distance of five or six miles. There was 
an appearance of small inlets on each side of Shoal Cape, but as 
admiral D'Entrecasteaux passed within three miles and does not 
mark any, it was probably a deception, caused by the land betag 
very low between the sand hills. 

Before suuset, the westernmost isle of D'EntrecasJieaux's 
Archipel de la Recherche was in sight to the eastward, and at half past 
seven, our distance from it was about six miles. The French 

Digitized by 


Recherche^ Archipelago.] TEtfRA ^fcfcTMLIS. 'f§ 

admiral had iriostly skirted round the archipefago, a siiffifcifeWt! rift*, 
reason for me to attempt pishing through the middle, if the wea- jwaayi 
ther did not make the experiment too dahgerotis. It was fine *t 
this time, and the breeze moderate at south-soutft-west ; and J 
therefore took measures to be in with the western group as early 
on the following morning as possible, to have the whole day for 
getting through. 

At a quarter past five, we bore away for the south eilcf of the Saturday 9. 
westernmost island, passed it within a mile and a half at seven, and 
steered eastward for the clusters rising a-he&d and on both bows; 
At noon, the number of rocks above water, the patches of breakers, 
and the islands with which we were surrounded, made it necessary 
to heave to, in order to take the angles of so many objects with 
some degree of accuracy. The situation of the ship, and the three 
most material bearings were these : # ## 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, - 35 o 25 

Longitude, reduced up from eight o'clock, - lai 49 45' 

Observatory I. ( of D'Entrecasteaux ) dist. 6 miles, N. 37 W. 
High peak on Cape Le Grand, - N. 84^ E. 

Small, high, peaked island, distant 7 or 8 miles, S. 57 E. 
This last peak had beeft visible from daybreak, and appeals to be 
the top of the imperfectly formed lie de Remarque of D'l&ltrecas;- 
teaux's chart ; and from it, I measured with a sextant the angles of 
most of the other objects. The long reef of rocks, called La 
Chaussee (The Causeway), was four or five miles distant to the 
southward ; and a sunken rock, upon which the sea broke at times, 
was three miles off to the north-east. The islands were more par- 
ticularly numerous to the east-south-east, where our course lay; but 
as they were generally high, with bold rocky shores, and we had 
hitherto found deep water, I bore away for them so soon as all 1 the 
bearings were obtained. 

The chart alone can give any adequate idea of this labyrinth 
of islands and rocks, or of our trick amongst them until half past 

Digitized by 


*> A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

i8os. five in the evening. We were then abreast of the lie du Mondrain. 

January. m 

Saturday 9. and the view from the mast head was almost as crowded as before; 
but with this difference, that the islands were smaller, and the low 
rocks and patches of breakers more numerous. Seeing no probabi- 
lity of reaching a space of clear water in which to stand off and on 
during the night, and no prospect of shelter under any of the islands, 
I found myself under the necessity of adopting a hazardous measure; 
and with the concurrence of the master's opinion, we steered directly 
before the wind for the main coast, where the appearance of some 
beaches, behind other islands, gave a hope of finding anchorage. At 
seven in the evening we entered a small sandy bay ; and finding it 
sheltered every where except to the south-westward, in which 
direction there were many islands arid rocks in the offing to break 
off the sea, the anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms, sandy bottom. 
The master sounded round the ship, but nothing was found to injure 
the cables ; and except the water being shallow in the north-west 
corner of the bay, there was no danger to be apprehended, unless 
from strong south-west winds. The critical circumstance under 
which this place was discovered, induced me to give it the name of 
LtcKY Bay. 

Sunday 10. I had intended to pursue our route through the archipelago in 

the morning; but the scientific gentlemen having expressed a desire 
for the ship to remain two or three days, to give them an opportunity 
of examining the productions of the country, it was complied with ; 
and they landed soon after daylight. I went on shore also, to make 
observations upon the rates of the time keepers ; and afterwards 
ascended a hill at the back of the bay, to take angles with a theodo- 
lite. A party of the gentlemen were upon the top, eating a fruit 
not much unlike green walnuts in external appearance, and invited 
mte to partake ; but having breakfasted, and not much liking their 
flavour, I did but taste them. Mr. Thistle and some others who had 
eaten liberally, were taken sick, and remained unwell all the day 
afterwarcj. The plant which produced these nuts was a species of 

Digitized by 


Recherche 9 * Archipelago] TERRA AUSTRALIA 81 

zamia (Zamia spiralis of Brown's Prodr. jhr. Nov. Holl. I, 348) ; a 1909; 
class of plants nearly allied to the third kind of palm found by cap- i^j^i Q . 
tain Cook on the East Coast, the fruit of which produced the same 
deleterious effects on board the Endeavour.* 

The weather, unfortunately for my bearings, was so hazy, 
that unless objects were eminently conspicuous, they could not be 
distinguished beyond four or five leagues. My list, however, con- 
tained forty-five islands and clusters of rocks, independently of many 
patches of breakers where nothing above water appeared; yet 
most of those in the western part of the archipelago were in- 
visible, either from their distance, or from being hidden by other 

In turning from the view of these complicated dangers to that 
of the interior country, the prospect was but little improved. Sand 
and stone, with the slightest covering of vegetation, every where 
presented themselves on the lower lands ; and the many shining 
parts on the sides of the hills, showed them to be still more bare. 
The vegetation, indeed, consisted of an abundant variety of shrubs 
and small plants, and yielded a delightful harvest to the botanists ; 
but to the herdsman and cultivator it promised nothing : not a blade 
of grass, nor a square yard of soil from which the seed delivered to 
it could be expected back, was perceivable by the eye in its course 
over these arid plains. 

Upon a rock on the side of the hill I found a large nest, very 
similar to those seen in King George's Sound. There were in it 
several masses resembling those which contain the hair and bones 
of mice, and are disgorged by the owls in England after the flesh is 
digested. These masses were larger, and consisted of the hair of 
seals and of land animals, of the scaly feathers of pinguins, and the 
bones of birds and small quadrupeds. Possibly the constructor 6f 
the nest might be an enormous owl ; and if so, the cause of the bird 
being never seen, whilst the nests were not scarce, would be from 

* Hawkesworth, Vol. III. p. 220, 221. 

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88 A VOYAGE TO {Sou* Cba* 

i*H f its not going oat until dark; but from the very open and exposed 
S^Jja situations in which the nests were found, I should rather judge it to 
be of the eagle kind ; and that its powers are such as to render it 
heedless of any attempts from the natives upon its young. 
Monday ii. On the following morning, I sent the master to examine a 

small bay or cove, lying two miles to the westward of Lucky Bay. 
He found it to be capable of receiving one ship, which might be 
placed in perfect security in the western corner, with anchors out on 
the off bow and quarter, and hawsers on the other side fast to the 
shore. She would thus lie in from 3 to 5 fathoms, almost near enough 
tp. lay a stage to the beach. There was wood for fuel ; and at less 
than a hundred yards from the shore, a lake of fresh water, one 
mile in circumference, from which a small stream runs into the cove; 
but another stream, descending from the hills nearer into the western 
corner, would better suit the purposes of a ship. This account was 
froms the master, after whom this little, but useful discovery was 
named Thistle's Cove. It seems to be much, superior to Lucky Bay, 
where neither wood nor, water can be procured without much 
time and trouble, nor is the shelten so complete. 
Tuesday 12. Next day, Mr. Thistle was sent to examine the coast and 

islands to the eastward, when he found the archipelago to be full as 
dangerous. in that' direction, as to the west. He lauded upon an 
island three leagues distant, and brought me from thence a list of 
other islands and rocks further on, whose bearings had been taken. 
Several seals were procured on this and the preceding day, and some 
fish were caught along-side the ship ; but our success was much 
impeded by three monstrous sharks, in whose presence no other fish 
dared to appear. After some attempts we succeeded in taking one of 
them ; but to get it on board required as much preparation as for hoist- 
ing in the launch. The length of it, however, was no more than twelve 
feet three inches, but the circumference of the body was eight feet. 
Amongst, the vast quantity of substances contained in the stomach, 
was a tolerably large seal, bitten in two,and swallowed with half of the 


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Reckerche'i Archipelago.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 83 

spear sticking in it with which it had probably been killed by the ieo«. 
natives. The stench of this ravenous monster was great, even be- x^JSJ^j. 
fore it was dead ; and when the stomach was opened, it became in- 

On the 13th, the wind blew fresh from the eastward ; and as Wedncs. is. 
we could not sail with the ship, lieutenant Fowler and Mr. Thistle 
went over to Mondrain Island, the largest we had yet seen in the 
archipelago. An observation of the latitude and a set of angles 
were there taken, and they brought back some seals of a reddish 
fur, and a few small kanguroos of a species different from any I 
had before seen. The island was covered with brush wood; but 
some of the party, either from accident or design, set it on fire ; and 
the wind being fresh, there was a general blaze in the evening, all 
over the island. 

Very little other stone was seen about Lucky Bay than gra- 
nite ; and all the surrounding hills, as well as the islands visited, 
were composed of varieties of the same substance ; and some speci- 
mens from Mondrain Island contained garnets. In many places the 
surface of the rocks was scaling off in layers, and in the steep 
parts great lumps had fallen off, and some caverns were formed in 
the cliffs. This propensity to decomposition was more remarkable 
in the high peak of Cape Le Grand, about five miles to the west- 
ward, to which Mr, Brown made an excursion. He found a per- 
foration at the top forming an arch of great width and height, and 
above it, at the very summit of the peak, were loose pieces of 
granite of considerable size. 

There did not appear to be any Indians at this time in the 
neighbourhood of Lucky Bay ; but from their fire places, it was 
judged that they had not quitted it long since. Geese and ducks 
were found here, and not being very shy, some of them were killed 
by the shore parties. The goose was also found upon the islands ; 
.and is the same bird spoken of in the Introduction, page cxxxv, as 

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84 A VOYAGE TO [&w& Coast. 

i8os. resembling the bernacle goose, and frequenting Furneaux's Islands 
January - in Bass' Strait.* 

The latitude, observed upon a point of the main 
land on the east side of Lucky Bay, from one 
supplement of the sun's altitude,was 33*59' 45"; 
but as the supplement of the preceding day 
gave 39" less than the mean of both observa- 
tions, I consider the true latitude to be more 
nearly - - - - 34 o 20 S, 

The longitude from sixteen sets of distances of 
the sun east and west of the moon, of which 
the individual results are given in Table II. of 
the Appendix to this volume, was im° 15' 
4»" ; but from the two best time keepers, in 
which, from the short period since leaving 
King George's Sound, I put most confidence, 
it will be more correctly - - 122 14 14 E. 

Dip of the south end of the needle, taken 

on shore upon the granite rock, - 66 4 o 

But I am inclined to think it was attracted by the granite ; and 
that, had the needle been considerably elevated, it would not have 
shown more dip than at King George's Sound, where it was 64 
The variation deduced from observations taken 
on shore, morning and evening, with three 
compasses placied on the same rock, was 
2 35' west ; with Walker's meridional com- 
pass, 4 55 # ; and with the surveying theodolite 
o° 30' west.-f An amplitude taken on board 

* This goose is described*by M. Labillardi&re, page 258 of the London translation, as 
a new species of swan. 

t It is remarkable, that the difference between these three kinds of instruments is 
directly the reverse here of what it was in King George's Sound. 

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Recherche'* Archipelago.'] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 

the ship, with the head east-south-east, gave 
7° 2^, which, reduced to what it should be 
with the head in the meridian, is 4 s6' west. 
The mean, and what I consider to be nearest -• 
the true variation in this neighbourhood, 
will be - - - - 3 # 


6' west 


This is what I allowed upon the bearings taken with the theodolite 
upon the top of the hill behind the bay, and it appeared to be the 
same upon two small islands, one to the east and the other west, 
where Mr. Thistle took angles ; but at Mondrain Island there seemed 
to be considerable differences. 

Before entering the archipelago, the variation was observed to 
be 9 21' west, with the ship's head east-south-east; but at three 
leagues to the east of Termination Island, in the following year, and 
with the head at east-north-east, it was no more than 3 50 west. 
From the first, I should deduce the true variation on the west side 
of the airchipelago to be 6° 28', and off Termination Island, from the 
second, to be o° 57' west ; both of which coincide with the other 
observations in showing the islands of the archipelago to possess a 
considerable degree of magnetic attraction. 

The rise of tide in Lucky Bay was so trifling, that under the 
circumstances of our stay no attention was paid to it. 

In the morning of the 14th, the wind being then light from Thursday 14. 
the northward, we got under way and steered for Mondrain Island. 
In our route eastward from thence, several low rocks and patches of 
breakers were left on each side, besides small islands whose bear- 
ings had been taken from the hill behind Lucky Bay ; the depth of 
water, however, was between 20 and 30 fathoms. The wind was 
then moderate from the south-westward, but the weather so hazy 
that there was much difficulty, and some uncertainty, in recognizing 
the different islands. 

At half past ten we steered -more towards tfie main land, 
that no opening in it might escape unseen ; and at noon, hove to 
Vol. 1. Pp 

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86 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

180*. for the purpose of taking tarings. The latitude observed to* the 
ThmS^u. nort h was 84° ft/ > ^d longitude iafc° 36'. A chain of islands and 
breakers lay about two miles to the northward ; and amongst the 
cluster to the east were two islands with peaks upon them, which, 
from their similarity, were named the Twins : the southernmost 
and nearest bore E. 7°N., three leagues. The nearest part of the 
main land was a projection with hills upon it which had been set 
from Lucky Bay, whence it is nearly five leagues distant ; the 
intermediate space being a large bight with a low, sandy coast at 
the back, and containing many small islands and breakers. To the 
eastward of the hilly projection, the coast seemed again to be sandy ; 
but although our distance from it was not more than six or seven 
miles, it was scarcely visible through the haze. 

After the bearings were obtained, we bore away along the 
south side of the chain of islands m and rocks; and at half past 
one steered north-east to look for a place of shelter, either amongst 
the cluster near the Twins, or in the opposite main land. The 
water shoaled amongst the small islands, from 30 to 10 fathoms, 
and suddenly to 3, when the bottom was distinctly seen under the 
ship. The next cast was 7 fathoms, and we steered on eastward 
for two islets three-quarters of a mile asunder, between wliich the 
master was sent to sound. On his making the signal we followed 
through, having ao fathoms, and afterwards hauled the wind to the 
south-east, seeing no hope of shelter either amongst the islands or 
near the main land. The coast stretched eastward with little 
sinuosity, and was sandy, but not so low as before. 

At six o'clock we had some larger, flat islands to windward, 
and in the east-south-east was one much higher and of greater ex- 
tent, which proved to be the /. du Milieu (Middle Island) of D'En- 
trecasteaux. Betwixt this island and his Cap Aride on the main, 
there were many small isles and apparently passages; and we there- 
fore bore away in the hope of finding anchorage against the 
approaching night. Many patches of breakers were passed; and 

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Recherche'* Archipelago.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 87 

seeing a small bay in the north side of Middle Island, we stood iso*. 

^ J January. 

in for it under shortened sail, and came to an anchor m 7 fathoms, Thura. 14. 
sandy bottom, off the first of three small beaches. The island 
sheltered us from east-north-east, round by the south to west-by- 
north; and to the northward there was, besides the main land, a 
number of reefs and small isles, of which the' nearest and largest 
was a quarter of a mile distant, as Middle Island was on the other 
side. The master was immediately sent to examine the passage 
through to the eastward, that we might know whether there were 
a possibility of escape in case the anchor should not hold ; for the 
wind blew fresh at west-south-west, and threw some swell into the 
bay : he found 3 fathoms in the shallow part of the opening. 

The botanists landed in the morning upon Middle Island ; for Friday is. 
I had determined to stop a day or two, as well for their accommoda* 
tion as to improve my chart of the archipelago. I went to the 
northern island, which is one mile long and near half a mile in 
breadth, and found it to be covered with tufts of wiry grass inter- 
mixed with a few shrubs. Some of the little, blue pinguins, like 
those of Bass' Strait, harboured under the bushes; and amongst the 
grass and upon the shores were a number of the bernacle geese, of 
which we killed nine, mostly with sticks ; and sixteen more were 
procured in the course of the day. 

After taking bearings from the uppermost of the small eleva- 
tions of Goose Island, as it was now named, I ascended the high 
north-western hill of Middle Island, which afforded a more extensive 
view. The furthest visible part of the main land was a projecting 
cape, with a broad-topped hill upon it bearing N. 58 E., six or 
seven leagues. This projection not having been seen by D'Entre- 
casteaux, was named after the late admiral sir Thomas Pasley, under 
whom I had the honour of entering the naval service. The shore 
betwixt Cape Pasley and Cape Arid is low and sandy, and falls back 
in a large bight, nearly similar to what is formed on the west side of 
Cape Arid. Behind that cape was a high bank of sand, whiph 

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88 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. stretched from one bight nearly to the other, and had the appear- 
Prides, ance of having been the sea shore not very long since. 
pi ^ At xviT ^ e mount u P° n w Wch I stood is the highest part of a ridge 

Vtew 6 .*) of almost bare granite, extending along, or rather forming the west 
side of Middle Island. The other parts of the island are low, and 
thickly covered with brush wood and some trees, where a small 
species of kanguroo seemed to be numerous, though none were 
caught. In the north-eastern part was a small lake of a rose colour, 
the water of which, as I was informed by Mr. Thistle who visited it, 
was so saturated with salt, that sufficient quantities were crystallised 
near the shores to load a ship. The specimen he brought on board 
was of a good quality, and required no other process than drying to 
be fit for use. This lake is at the back of the easternmost of three 
small beaches on the north side of the island, and it might be con- 
cluded, that the salt was formed by the evaporation of the water 
oozing through the bank which separates it from the sea ; but as, 
in the small drainings from the hills, the water was too salt to be 
drinkable, this may admit of a doubt. 
Saturday 16. On Saturday morning, a part of the people were employed 

cutting a boat load of fire wood, and the master was again sent to 
sound the passage out to the eastward, and amongst the rocks lying 
beyond it. The shallowest depth he found was 3 fathoms, after 
which the water deepened to 7 and 10, past the north-east point and 
out to sea. He landed upon some of the rocky islets, and brought 
from thence twenty-seven more geese, some of them alive. The 
botanical gentlemen employed the day in going round Middle Island, 
but they found very little to reward their labour. A piece of fir 
plank, with nails in it, which seemed to have been part of a ship's 
deck, was picked up on the shore; but no trace of the island having 
been visited, either by Europeans or the natives of the main land, 
was any where seen. 

• This view was taken in the following year, at five leagues distance from Middle 
Island, but it shows the form of the mount, and of the granitic ridge. 

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Recherche'$ Archipelago.] TERRA AtJSTRALlS. 89 

The basis stone of this, as it appears to be of all the islands as 1802. 
well as of the coast of the archipelago, is granitic ; but at the south satSrd^ac. 
side of Middle Island there is a thick crust of calcareous rock over 
it, as there is at the south end of Goose Island. It was also on the 
south side of King George's Sound, that the calcareous rock covered 
•the granite; a coincidence which may perhaps afford some light to 
the geologist. 

The latitude of Goose-Island Bay, for so this anchorage was 
named, is 34 5' 23" south, and longitude by the two best time keepers 
corrected 123 9' 3o",5 east; the observations being made on the 
middlemost of the three southern beaches. 

The variation from azimuth, observed on the binnacle when 
the ship's head was west-south-west, was o° 54' west, and in the fol- 
lowing year similar observations taken at anchor one mile to the 
eastward, with the head east, gave 6° io' west ; whence I deduce 
the variation which would have been obtained with the head at north 
or south, to be 3 25' west. From the bearings on shore, compared 
with the latitudes and longitudes, it appeared to be 5^ on the centre 
of Goose Island ; and 4 upon the granitic mount of Middle Island. 

No run of tide was observed, notwithstanding the narrowness 
of the channel where the ship lay. 

Goose-Island Bay may be useful as a place of refreshment, but 
the geese were not found to be so numerous at a different season of 
the year : a few hair seals may Be procured, probably at all times. 
The wood is a species of eucalyptus, neither abundant nor large ; but 
two or three ships may be supplied with fuel. Fresh water was not 
to be obtained upon either of the islands ; but upon the opposite Cape 
Arid, five miles to the north, I judged there might be small streams 
running down from the hills. The lake of salt will be the greatest 
inducement for vessels to stop in this bay ; they must not, however, 
come to it in the winter season, as there will be occasion to show 

On the 17th in the morning, the anchor was weighed and we Sunday 17. 

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90 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

i8<». steered out eastward. The shallowest water was seventeen feet, 
SuSJ^Tr. between the south-east point of Goose Island and the opposite west 
point of the middle beach ; after which it deepened ; and abreast of 
the middle rock there was 7 fathoms. Having cleared the islets 
lying off the north-east point of Middle Island, we steered for Cape 
Pasley, leaving the South-east Isles of the archipelago far distant on 
the starbord hand. A low islet and some rocks lie three miles to 
the south of the Cape, and the soundings we had in passing between 
them were 28 and 34 fathoms. 

The wind at this time was moderate at south-west, with fine 
weather. Middle Island and Cape Arid were still visible at noon, 
and the Eastern Group, which, according to D'Entrecasteaux, termi- 
nated the archipelago, was coming in sight. Our situation and most 
material bearings were then as under : , „ 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, 33 54 55 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 123 35 

Middle Island, top of the mount, - S. 65 W. 

Cape Pasley, the hill, dist. 6 miles, - S. 84 W. 

Furthest extreme, a low point, dist. 3 leagues, N.38 E. 

A ragged mount in the interior, of the country, N. 21 W. 

Eastern Group, the northern hill upon the 
highest and southernmost isle, dist. 8 
leagues, - - - N.80 E. 

At half past one, we passfed within three miles of the point 
which had been the furthest extreme at noon ; it is low and sandy, 
and a ledge of rocks extends from it to the north-east. I named it 
Point Malcolm, in honour of Captain Pultney Malcolm of the navy. 
The depth diminished from so to 10 fathoms, in passing near a 
sunken rock two miles to the south-east of the point, and upon 
which the sea breaks only at times. The coast from thence trended 
rapidly to the northward ; and in following its direction at from three 
to five miles distance, we left eight islands of the Eastern Group on 
the starbord, and two on the larbord hand. These, with the excep- 

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Recherche'* Archipelago.-] TERRA AUSTRALIA 01 

tion of the southernmost, which has a hill at each end and some vege- lfcoa. 
tation, are little better than low sterile rocks. SundayTr. 

At seven in the evening, the water being smooth, we anchored 
in 8 fathoms, sandy bottom* three or four miles from the shore; (Atlas> 
where our calculated situation, and the bearings of the land were as Plate m > 
follow : 

Latitude, 38° *7' s - 

Longitude, - - - 124 6 E. 

Northern extreme of the coast, N. »7 E. 

Southern extreme, - - S. 36 W. 

A mount in the interior country, S. 68 W. 
From Cape Pasley to the northern extreme above set, the 
coast is sandy and low, presenting, with trifling exceptions, a con- 
tinued beach. On the north side of Point Malcolm it stretches north, 
and then eastward, forming a bight five miles within the land; after 
which the general trending is north-north-east,, with very little 
sinuosity. Four or five miles behind the shore, and running parallel 
with it, is a bank of moderately high and level land ; over which 
the tops of some barren-looking mountains were occasionally seen. 
The most remarkable of these is Mount Ragged, lying N. 8* W. 
nine or ten leagues from Cape Pasley. 

We had now altogether lost sight of the Archipelago of the 
Recherche. The chart which I have constructed of this extensive 
mass of dangers is much more full, and in many parts should be 
more accurate than that of D'Entrecasteaux ; but I dare by no means 
assert, that the very great number of islands, rocks, and reefs therein 
contained, ar£ the whole that exist ; nor that every individual one is 
correctly placed, although the greatest care was taken to obtain 
correctness. All the islands seem to be more or less frequented by 
seals ; but I think not in numbers sufficient to make a speculation 
from Europe advisable on their account; certainly not for the China 
market, the seals being mostly of the hair kind, and the fur of such 
others as were seen was red and coarse. There is, besides, a risk 

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W A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1808. of being caught in the archipelago with strong south, or western 

January* • 

Sunday 17. winds, in which case destruction would be almost inevitable, for I 
know of no place where a ship might take refuge in a gale. The 
shelter in Thistle's Cove is, indeed, complete, when a vessel is once 
placed ; but the cove is too small to be entered except under favour- 
able circumstances, and the shelter in the western corner could not 
be attained with winds blowing strong out of it. The archipelago 
should not, therefore, be entered without the assurance of carrying 
fine weather to the proposed anchorage. 

During the night of the 17th, there was no current or set of 
tide past the ship. Every thing was kept prepared for getting under 
way at a moment's notice ; but the wind blew gently off the land, 
and the people of the watch occupied themselves successfully in 
Monday is. catching dog fish. At day break we made all sail to the north- 
eastward, along^the same low and, if possible, still more sandy coast. 
The wind was light, and at nine it fell calm. This was succeeded 
by a sea breeze at east-south-east, and we trimmed close to it, keep- 
ing on our former course until four in the afternoon ; when the land 
being one mile and a half distant, we tacked in 12 fathoms, and 
stretched to the southward. 

The shore curved round here, and took a more eastern direc- 
tion; and the bank of level land, which continued to run along 
behind it, approached very near to the water side. Three leagues 
further on, it formed cliffs upon the coast ; and a projecting part of 
them, which I called Point Culver, bore N. 77° E. four leagues: 
this was the furthest land in sight. 

This afternoon we passed a number of pale red medusas, such 
as I had usually seen on the East Coast at the entrances of rivers, 
and which, on being touched, produce a sensation like the stinging 
of a nettle. There was also a red scum on the water, and some of it 
was taken up to be examined by Mr. Brown in a microscope. It 
consisted of minute particles not more than half a line in length, and 
each appeared to be composed of several cohering fibres which were 

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Between the Archipelagos.} TERRA AUSTRALIS. 98 

jointed ; the joints being of an uniform thickness, and nearly as 1802. 

1 j January. 

broad as long. These fibres were generally of unequal length, and Monday is. 
the extremities of the compound particle thence appeared somewhat 
torn. The particles exhibited no motion when in salt water; and 
the sole effect produced by immersing them in spirit of wine was the 
separation of each into its component fibres. 

Until daybreak next morning the wind was unfavourable; Tueidayig. 
but it then veered round to the south, and enabled us to pass Point 
Culver. Our situation at noOn, and the bearings taken were these : 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, 32° 52' 51" 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 124 58 

Point Culver, distant five leagues, - S. 78 W. 

Small rock under the cliffs, dist. 5 miles, North. 

Furthest extreme of the coast, cliffs, N. 39 E. 
Our course along the shore was so favoured by the wind, that 
at seven in the evening we had passed another projecting part of the 
cliffs, named Point Dover, distant from Point Culver fifty miles; 
and the extreme in sight a-head was twenty miles further, and still 
cliffy. The nearest part was two or three leagues distant ; and the 
wind being still at south, we hauled up to it, and at nine o'clock 
stood back to the westward. 

The elevation of these cliffs appeared to be about five-hundred 
feet, and nothing of the back country was seen above them. In the 
upper part they are brown, in the lower part nearly white, and the 
two strata, as also the small layers of which each is composed, are 
nearly horizontal. They were judged to be calcareous, as was the 
white, grey, and brown sand which the lead brought up when the 
bottom was not of coral. 

A surveyor finds almost no object here whose bearing 
can be set a second time. Each small projection presents the 
appearance of a steep cape, as it opens out in sailing along; but 
before 4 the ship arrives abreast of it, it is lost in the general uni- 
formity of the coast, and the latitude, longitude, and distance of the 
vol. r. Q q 

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94 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

ieo&. nearest cliffs, are all the documents that remain for the construction 
1^2^19. °f a chart. Point Culver and Point Dover are exceptions to this 
general uniformity; but it requires a ship to be near the land before 
even these are distinguishable. The latter point was somewhat 
whiter than the cliffs on each side, which probably arose from the 
front having lately fallen off into the water. 

In the night of the 19th, the wind shifted round to the east- 
ward, and continued there for three days ; and during this time we 
beat to windward without making much progress. Several observa- 
tions were taken here for the variation of the compass : wfth the 
ship's head east-by-north, azimuths gave 7 15* west, and at south, 
4 26'; five leagues further eastward they gave 6° 13' with the 
head north-east, and eight leagues further, an amplitude 4 18' at 
south-by-east. These being corrected, would be 4 13', 4 26', 4 2', 
and gf 42' west; so that the variation had now reassumed a tolerably 
regular course of diminution. The mean of the whole is 4 & west 
variation in the longitude of 125 51' east. 
JHfcy**- At the end of three days beating, our latitude in the evening 

of the 2 and was 32* 22', and longitude 126 23'; the depth in that 
situation was 7 fathoms, at two miles from the land, and the furthest 
extremes visible through the haze, bore west-half-north and east, 
the latter being distant four or five miles. The bank which before 
formed the cliffs, had retired to a little distance from the coast, and 
left a front screed of low, sandy shore. Several smokes arose from 
behind the bank, and were the first seen after quitting the archipelago. 
The barometer had kept up nearly to 30 inches during the 
east and south-east winds, but it now fell to 29,65 ; and we stretched 
off for the night in the expectation of a change of wind, and pro* 
bably of blowing weather. At ten, the sails were taken aback by a 
Saturday 33. breeze from the westward ; but at daylight it had veered to south* 
by-west, and the mercury was rising. We then bore away for the 
land ; and having reached in with the low, sandy point, which had 
borne east in the evening, steered along the coast at three or four 

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Between Ae Archipelagos.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 0* 

miles distance, in from 7 to 11 fathoms water. The latitude at noon mm- 


from very indifferent observations, was 32° 223-', and longitude 127° 2'; Saturdays*, 
the coast, four miles distant to the northward, was low and sandy, but 
rose quickly to the level bank, upon which there Were some shrubs 
and small trees. Nothing of the interior country could be seen 
above the bank ; but this might possibly have been owing to the 
haze, which was so thick that no extremes of the land could be de- 
fined. The wind was fresh at south-south-west, and by seven in 
- the evening our longitude was augmented 55' ; the land was then dis- 
tant six or seven miles, trending east-north-eastward ; and we hauled 
to the wind which had increased in strength though the barometer was 
fast rising. 

Having stood to the south-east till midnight, we then tacked 
to the westward ; and at five next morning bore away north for the Sunday 24. 
land, the wind being then at south-by-east, and the barometer 
announcing by its elevation a return of foul winds. At six we 
steered eastward, along the same kind of shore as seen on the preced- 
ing day; but the wind coming more unfavourable, and depth diminish- 
ing to 5 fathoms soon after eight o'clock, made it necessary to stretch 
off to sea. The coast, in latitude 32° i' and longitude 128° 12', was 
three miles distant to the north. A league further on it took a more 
northern direction, but without much changing its aspect ; it con- 
tinued to be the same sandy beach, with a bank behind it of level 
land topped with small trees and shrubs as before described. 

The rest of the day and the whole of the 25th were taken up in Monday 25. 
beating fruitlessly against an eastern wind. Azimuths observed when 
the ship's head was east-by-north, gave variation 6° 4/ ; and ten miles 
to the south a little eastward, they gave 3 8' west, at south-by-east; 
corrected 3 2' and 2 32', and the mean 2 4/ for the true variation, 
showing a decrease since the last, of i° 1^ for 2°n' of longitude. 

At ten in the evening, our situation was less advanced than 
on the morning of the 24th, when we tacked off shore ; but the 
mercury was again descending, and during the night the wind 
veered to north-east, to north, and at eight in the morning to west- Tuesdays*. 

Digitized by 


96 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast, 

1803. by-north, when we steered in for the land. At ten, the shore was 
TiwdB^'se. eight or nine miles distant, and our course was north-east, nearly as 
it trended. The latitude at noon, from observations to the north and 
south, was 31° 51' 34", and longitude by time keepers 128 41' ; the 
beach was distant three or four miles in the north-north-west, and 
the bank behind it lay two or three miles inland and was somewhat 
higher, but had less wood upon it than further westward. The wind 
was fresh at south-west, and the mercury was rising; but the 
haziness of the weather \tas such, that no extremes of the land could 
be set. 

Our course from noon was nearly east, at the distance of five 
or six miles from the shore ; and we ran at the rate of between 
seven and eight knots, under double-reefed top sails and fore 
sail. Abreast of our situation at half past two, the level bank again 
closed in upon the shore, and formed cliffs very similar to those along 
which we had before run thirty leagues. Their elevation appeared 
to be from four to six hundred feet, the upper third part was brown, 
and the lower two-thirds white ; but as we advanced, the upper 
brown stratum was observed to augment in proportional quantity. 
We could not distinguish, as before, the smaller layers in the two 
strata ; and from the number of excavations in the white part, appar- 
(Atias, ently from pieces having fallen down (see Mr. Westall's sketch), I 
^fiwS? 1 " was led to think the lower portion of these cliffs to be grit stone, 
rather than calcareous rock. The bank was not covered with, 
shrubs, as before it came to the water side, but was nearly destitute 
of vegetation, and almost as level as the horizon of the sea. 

At dusk we hauled up south-east-by south to the wind, at one 
Wedncs. 27. in the morning tacked to the westward, and at four bore away 
north for the land. . Having reached within six miles of the cliffs, 
we steered eastward again, with a fair breeze ; and at noon were in 
latitude 31 40' 5s" and longitude 130 59' ; the cliffs were then 
distant seven miles to the northward, and at N. 9 E. was their ter- 

The length of these cliffs, from their second commencement, is 

Digitized by 


Between the Archipelagos.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 9T 

thirty-three leagues; and that of the level bank, from near Cape isos. ' 
Pasley where it was first seen from the sea, is no less than one wrfa^w* 
hundred and forty-five leagues. The height of this extraordinary bank 
is nearly the same throughout, being no where less, by estimation, 
than four hundred, nor any where more than six hundred feet. 
In the first twenty leagues the ragged tops of some inland moun- 
tains were visible over it ; but during the remainder of its long course 
the bank was the limit of our view. ' 

This equality of elevation for so great an extent, and the * 

evidently calcareous nature of the bank, at least in the upper two 
hundred feet, would bespeak it to have been the exterior line of a 
vast coral reef, which is always more elevated than the interior parts, 
and commonly level with high water mark. From the gradual sub- 
siding of the sea; or perhaps by a sudden convulsion of nature, this 
bank may have attained its present height above the surface ; and 
however extraordinary such a change may appear, yet, when it is 
recollected that branches of coral still exist upon Bald Head, at the 
elevation of four hundred or more feet, this supposition assumes a 
great degree of probability ; and it would further seem, that the 
subsiding of the waters has not been at a period very remote, since 
these frail branches have yet neither been all bfeaten down nor 
mouldered away by the wind and weather. 

If this supposition be well founded, it may, with the fact of 
no hill or other object having been perceived above the bank in the 
greater part of its course, assist in forming some conjecture of 
what may be within it ; which cannot, as I judge in such case, 
be other, than flat, sandy plains, or water. The bank may even 
be a narrow barrier between an interior, and the exterior sea, and 
much do I regret the not having formed an idea of this probability 
at the time ; for notwithstanding the great difficulty and risk, I should 
certainly have attempted a landing upon some part of the coast, to 
ascertain a fact of so much importance. 

Digitized by 


98 A VOYAGE TO [South Co*$t. 

isoa. At the termination of the bank and of the second range of 

January. , 

Wednes.27. cliffs, the coast became sandy, and trended north-eastward about 
three leagues ; after which it turned south-east-by-east, and formed 
the head of the Great Australian Bight, whose latitude I make to be gi° 
29' south, and longitude 131° io ; east. In the chart of admiral 
D'Entrecasteaux, the head of the Great Bight is placed in 31 36' and 
131 27' ; but I think there is an error at least in the latitude, for the 
admiral says, " at day break I steered to get in with the land ; and 
" the wind having returned to south-east, we hauled our starbord 
" tacks on board, being then four or five leagues from the coast. 
u At eleven o'clock, the land was seen a-head, and we veered ship in 
" 39 fathoms, fine sand."* The latitude observed at noon, as appears 
by the route table, was 3i°38 / 58"; and if we suppose the ship, 
lying up south-south-west, to have made a' of southing in the hour, 
as marked in the chart, she must have been in 31 37' at eleven 
o'clock ; which is within one mile of the latitude assigned to the 
head of the bight, where the shore curves to the south-east-by-east. 
This does not accord with the land being only then seen a-head, 
since the weather appears to have admitted the sight of it at the 
distance of four or five leagues. If we suppose the admiral, when he 
veered, to have been eight, instead of one mile from the head of the 
Great Bight, and the account strongly favours the supposition, it 
will then agree with my latitude. I had only 27 fathoms in crossing 
the head ; and although it is possible there may be 30 closer in, 
yet in such a place as this the probability is, that the ship having 
the greatest depth of water was the furthest from the land. 

After steering east-north-east, east, and east-south-east, and hav- 
ing seen the beach all round the head of the Great Bight, we hauled 
up parallel to the new direction of the coast, at the distance of six 

^ ♦ Pbyage de D'Entrecasteaux, par M. de Rossel, Tome I. page 220, The 32 fe- 
thoms are, I believe, of five French feet each, making very nearly 30 fathoms English 

Digitized by 


Between the Archipelagos.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 99 

miles ; anfl at five o'clock were abreast of the furthest part seen by i fi o«- 


the Fren ;h admiral when he quitted the examination. The coast is Wednes. «r. 
a sandy beach in front; but the land rises gradually from thence, 
and at three or four miles back is of moderate elevation, but still 
sandy and barren. According to the chart of Nuyts, an extensive (Adas, 
reef lay a little beyond this part. It was not seen by D'Entrecas- 
teaux, but we were anxiously looking out for it when, at six o'clock, 
breakers were seen from the mast head bearing S. 43 E. some dis- 
tance open from the land. We kept on our course for them, with 
the wind at south-south-west, until eight o'clock, and then tacked 
to the westward in 27 fathoms ; and the ship's way being stopped 
by a head swell, we did not veer towards the land until three in the 
morning, at which time it fell calm. Thursdays. 

On a light breeze springing up from the northward we steered 
in for the coast ; and at noon were in the following situation. 
Latitude, observed to the north, • - 32 s^ 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 13151 

Breakers, distant 2 or 3 miles, - N. 82 to 42 E. 

A sandy projection of the coast, south part, - N. 37 E. 
Extremes of the land from the deck, N. 15 W. to 89 E. 
The breakers lie five or six miles from the land, and did not appear to 
have any connection with it, nor with two other sets of small reefs 
which came in sight to the east and east-south-east, soon afterward. 
At two o'clock, our situation was betwixt these last reefs. The south- 
ernmost patches are two or three miles in length, and there are 
large rocks upon them, standing above water ; the northern patches 
extend eight miles along the coast, from which they are distant 
three miles, and on the eastern parts there are also some rocks 
above water ; but there were none upon the western reef first seen. 
It may be doubted whether the western reef were known to Nuyts, 
but there can be no doubt concerning these last ; and I call the 
whole Nuyts' Reefs. 

Digitized by 


100 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

isos! The aspect of the shore to the northward was nearly the same 

Th^da^8. as ^ at seen ^ e preceding afternoon, but behind the second reefs it 
began to assume a more rocky appearance. A high cliffy cape is 
formed a little further eastward, answering to the broad projection 
marked A in the copy I have given of the Dutch chart; it has a 
pyramidal rock near it, and the coast there takes a direction some- 
what on the north side of east. This remarkable projection, being 
within a few leagues of the^furthest part of the main coast discovered 
by the Dutch, I have called Cape Nuyts : its latitude is 32 a' south, 
and longitude 132° 18' east. 

After clearing Nuyts' Reefs we steered east-north-east, past 
the cape, to look for anchorage in two bights ; but there were rocks 
in both, and they were open to the southward. Beyond them was 
a low, cliffy point, lying E. 3 N. seven or eight miles from Cape 
Nuyts; and seeing a bay behind it which promised shelter from 
south-west and south winds, we hauled round the point at half past 
five. The water shoaled gradually from 1 1 to 3 fathoms, on which 
I hove the sails aback and sent the master a-head to sound ; and 
as he did not make the signal for deeper water, and we were already 
in tolerable shelter, the anchor was dropped in 3^ fathoms, sandy 
bottom. We had then the following bearings : 

Low cliffy point, distant 3 or 3 miles, - S. 35 E. • 

Head of the bay, distant lj mile, - S. 58 W. 

Cliffs, appearing like an island, disk 4 leagues, N. 77 E. 

Furthest land visible from the mast head, - E. S. E. 
Between the first and the last of these bearings we were exposed to 
the sea, but sheltered at all other points of the compass. 

Being arrived at the extremity of that part of the south coast 
of Terra Australis which had been previously explored, it may be 
useful, before entering on the unknown part, to compare my 
examination of it with what was contained in former charts. It will 
thence appear, that the employment of fifteen days in running along 

Digitized by 


Between the Archipelagos.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 101 

the coast, more than would probably have been required had I kept isos, 

at a distance, was not without some advantage to geography and attqa1 ^ 

At Cape Leeuwin, the largest He St. Alouarn of D'Entrecas- (Atlas, 

Plate II ) 

teaux was seen to be joined to the main, and to form the south- 
western extremity of Leeuwin's Land, and of Terra Australis. The 
coast from thence to King George's Sound was more accurately 
investigated than the French admiral had an opportunity of doing, 
and his omission of soundings supplied. Captain Vancouver's chart 
is superior to that of the French, from Cape Chatham to the Sound; 
but that officer's distance from some parts prevented him from see- 
ing them correctly. In the Sound, no particular advantage will be 
derived from the new survey, the plan given by Vancouver being 
sufficiently correct for nautical purposes, with the exception of the 
bar to Oyster Harbour, over which he had marked seventeen feet, 
but where thirteen now appeared to be the greatest depth. From 
King George's Sound to Point Hood, the coast had been very indis- 
tinctly, and sometimes not at all seen by Vancouver; but I found it, 
speakirig generally, to be laid down by D'Entrecasteaux with accuracy, 
though the bights in the land are marked somewhat too deep, from 
his distance not allowing the low beaches to be always distinguished* 
These trifling inaccuracies were remedied, the passages between 
Bald and Doubtful Islands and the main land opposite to them 
ascertained to be safe, and the omission of soundings along the coast 

In Doubtful-Island Bay the French chart does not give the 
north-western part sufficiently deep; but the coast from thence to 
the Archipelago of the Recherche, as also the reefs and rocks, were 
well distinguished, better perhaps than by me ; but the usual want 
of soundings, with the exception of some distant ones by Vancouver, 
still continued. D'Entrecasteaux's chart appeared to be excellent 
in the western part of the archipelago, and good in the positions of 
the islands on the outskirts; so that I have, in some cases, borrowed 
vol. i. R r 

Digitized by 


102 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. from it. With respect to the inner islands and the main coast, it 
anuaxy ' was necessarily defective, from the French ships having sailed round 
the archipelago, and not through the middle of it as I did in the 
Investigator. Here, my survey, though far from complete in the 
details, will afford much new information ; and useful also, since it has 
brought to light a well sheltered cove affording wood and water, 
and two other tolerable anchorages at which some refreshments may 
be procured, and at one, quantities of salt in the summer season. 
(Atlas, From the archipelago eastward, the examination of the' coast 

Plate III.) 

was prosecuted by D'Entrecasteaux with much care, and with some 
trifling exceptions, very closely ; but as far as the 127th degree of 
longitude from Greenwich, no soundings were given. These have 
been supplied, and a more minute description given of the coast. At 
the 129th degree, the French ships seem to have been closer in with 
the land than was the Investigator; and it would appear by the 
track that they were also closer at the 130th, and at the head of the 
Great Bight, but these last are not corroborated by the soundings. 
From thence to the bay in which we anchored on the 28th, the 
Dutch chart of 1627 was the sole authority; and making allowances 
for the state of navigation at that time, it is as correct in form as 
could reasonably have been expected. 

The latitudes and longitudes of the points and islands along 
the coast have been either verified or corrected, for there are com- 
monly some differences between my longitudes and those of Van- 
couver and D'Entrecasteaux. The observations by which certain 
places, taken as fixed points, are settled in longitude, are mentioned 
at those places, as also are the corrections applied to the time keepers 
for laying down the intermediate parts ; and both are more particu- 
larly specified in the Appendix to this volume. 

Monsieur Beautemps Beauprt, geographical engineer on board 
La Recherche, was the constructor of the French charts ; and they 
must be allowed to do him great credit. Perhaps no chart of a 
coast so little known as this was, will bear a comparison with its 

Digitized by 


BettceentheArchipelagos.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 108 

original better than those of M. Beaupr6. That the Plates II. and 1802. 
III. in the accompanying Atlas, are offered as being more full and anuar J r# 
somewhat more correct, does neither arise from a wish to depreciate 
those of my predecessor in the investigation, nor from an assumption 
of superior merit; there is, indeed, very little due to any superiority 
they may be found to possess ; but there would be room for reproach 
if, after having followed with an outline of his chart in my hand, 
improvements should not have been made in all, or some of those 
parts where circumstances had not before admitted a close exami- 

Digitized by 


104 A VOYAGE TO [South Coat. 


Fowler's Bay. Departure from thence. Arrival at the Isles of St. 
Francis. Correspondence between the winds and the. marine barometer. 
Examination of the other parts of Nuyts' Archipelago, and of the main 
coast. The Isles of St. Peter. Return to St. Francis: General 
remarks on Nuyts* Archipelago. Identification of the islands in the 
Dutch chart. 

1802. 'he bay in which we anchored on the evening of January 28, at 

Twltt. * e extre niity of the before known south coast of Terra Australis, 

(Atlas, was named Fowler's Bay, after my first lieutenant ; and the low, 

cliffy point which shelters it from southern winds and, not impro-, 

bably, is the furthest point (marked B) in the Dutch chart, was 

called Point Fowler. The botanical gentlemen landed early on the 

Friday «9. following morning to examine the productions of the cotmtry, and I 

went on shore to take observations and bearings, and to search for 

fresh water. 

The cliffs and rocks of Point Fowler are calcareous, and con- 
nected with the main land by a low, sandy isthmus of half a ipile 
broad. Many traces of inhabitants were found, and amongst others, 
some decayed spears; but no huts were seen, nor any thing to indi- 
cate that men had been here lately. Upon the beach were the foot 
marks of dogs, and some of the emu or cassowary. I found in a 
hole of the low cliffs one of those large nests which have before 
been mentioned, but it contained nothing, and had been long aban- 

No fresh water was discovered round the shores of the bay, 
nor was there any wood large enough for fuel, nearer than the brow 

Digitized by 


Between the Archipelagos.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 105 

of a hill two or three miles off. Two teal were shot on the beach, 18 o2. 
whence it seemed probable that some lake or pond of fresh water ^JJJS. 
was not far distant; a sea pie and a gull were also shot, and a few 
small fish caught along-side. These constituted every thing like re- 
freshment obtained here, and the botanists found the scantiness of 
plants equal to that of the other productions ; so that there was no 
inducement to remain longer. 

Fowler's Bay, however, may be useful to a ship in want of a 
place of shelter. . It is open only to the three points of the compass 
between south-east-by-south and east-south-east ; and it was evident 
from plants growing close to the water side, that a swell capable 
of injuring a vessel at anchor was seldom, if ever thrown into it. 
The latitude of the east extremity of Point 

Fowler is - - - . $%° i' south 

Longitude of the point, deduced from twenty- 
two sets of distances (see Table HI of the 
Appendix to this volume) is 13*° 30'; but 
that given by time keepers with accelerated 
rates and supplemental correction, as ex- 
plained at the end of Chap. VI, and in the 
Appendix, is preferred, and is - - 139 37 east 

The variation observed upon the binnacle, with 
the ship's head east-south-east, was 3 1 1 'west 
by the surveying compass ; and in the offing, 
with the head north-north -east, it was i° 41' 
west. These, corrected, will be o° 19' and 
0*30'; and therefore the variation allowed 
upon the bearings on shore was - o 95 west. 

The wind was at south-east-by-south at one in the afternoon, 
when the anchor was weighed to beat out of the bay. At half past 
five we were three miles from a cliffy head which had been taken for 
an island at the anchorage, and set at N. 77 E. The shore forms a 
small bight on the east side of this head, and then stretches south- 

Digitized by 


106 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. south-eastward in a sandy beach, with a ridge of barren land be- 

January. J ' o 

Friday 29. hind. At sunset we passed to windward of Point Fowler, and stood 
off to sea for the night. r 

Saturday 30. * Cape Nuyts bore north, two or three leagues, soon after day- 
light, and* the wind was then at east ; -but as the day advanced it 
veered to the south-east, and permitted us to make a stretch toward 
the furthest land. At five in the evening we tacked near some low, 
whitish cliffs, which had been seen from the mast head when in 
Fowler's Bay ; they were two or three miles off, and the furthest land 
visible from the deck bore S. 63 E., at no great distance. The coast 
here is broken into sandy beaches and small, cliffy points, and 
the same ridge of barren land runs behind it, but the elevation is not 

Sunday si. At three in the afternoon of the 31st, we reached in again with 

the coast, about four leagues beyond our situation on the preceding 
day. The depth at two miles off shore, was 7 fathoms on a coral 
bottom ; the northern extreme bore N. 58° W., and a low point on 
the other side, named Point Bell, S. 45 E. seven miles. To seaward, 
a flat rock bore W. 3°S., one mile and a half; it is the largest 
of four which were called Sinclair's Rocks, and lie scattered at the 
distance of two or three miles off the coast. We stood off, at this 
time ; but so little could be gained upon the south-east winds, that 

Monday 1. when we came in next morning, it was almost exactly in the same 
spot, and Point Bell was not passed until late in the afternoon ; the 
weather, also, was adverse to the examination, being so hazy that 
the highest land could not be seen beyond three or four leagues. 

At half past six in the evening, when we tacked to stand off 
for the night, Point Bell bore N. 68° W. four miles. It lies in 32° 
i6±' south, and 133 $' east ; and there is a broad, flat rock, sur- 
rounded with breakers; one mile to the westward. The main coast 
beyond the point forms some bights, and is divided betwixt sand and 
rock, as before described: its general trending is nearly east. A 
small island, somewhat elevated, lies six miles to the south-east of 

Digitized by 


Nuyti Archipelago.] TERRA AUSTRALIA - 10T 

Point Bell, and has a ledge of rocks and islets extending from it a -* 802 - 
league to the north-eastward, and a -separate isletrone or two miles to Monday i. 
the east : these obtained the name of Purdie's Isles. After we had 
* tacked in g fathoms, a wave was perceived to break upon a sunken 
rock, within less than half a mile of the ship ; and I think it would be 
dangerous to pass between Point Bell and Purdie's Isles. 

At noon of the and, no land was in sight. The weather was Tuesdays, 
still hazy, and the wind at south-east ; but in the afternoon it favoured 
us two points, and we got sight of a higher and larger island than 
any before seen on this part of the coast. At half past four, being 
then near a smaller isle and several rocks, we tacked towards the 
large island which was six or seven miles to the southward ; and 
soon after eight in the evening, got to an anchor in a little sandy 
bay on its north side. The depth was 6 fathoms in passing the north- 
west point of the bay, but 10 within side, on a fine sandy bottom, 
where the anchor was dropped. At daylight, we found ourselves Wedncs. s. 
half a mile from the shore, and the extremes bearing from N. 32 W., 
round by the west and south, to S. 77 E. ; and at the distance of 
two miles, we were sheltered by four small islands, extending from 
N. 41 to 88° E. The master was sent to sound in the bay; but the 
bottom was every where good, and nothing found to injure the 
cables. The scientific gentlemen landed upon their respective pur- 
suits; and I followed them to take angles for my survey, and see 
what could be procured for the ship's company. 

The island is nearly three miles long, north-west and south- 
east, and is moderately high and cliffy at the ends ; the middle "part 
is a sandy isthmus, not more than half a mile broad, but the 
breadth of the higher ends is from one-and-half to two miles; This 
island is the central one of a group ; - for besides the four small 
isles to the north-east, there are two close to the west end, 
and two others, something larger, lying off to the southward.. I 
call these the Isles of St. Francis ; in the persuasion that the 
central one is that named St. Francis by Nuyts. Independently of ' 

•Digitized by 


108 A VOYAGE TO [Sbtrffc Coa$L 

1809. the eight isles and a rock, surrounding this Isle St. Francis, I set 
wtdn^s. fr° m th c north-east point, three other islands. The first, named 
Lacy's Isli y bore N. a8° E., seven miles ; and two miles from it to 
the north-west, there is an islet and a separate rock above water, 
surrounded with breakers, the same near which we had tacked at 
half past four on the preceding evening. The second was called 
Evans 9 Isle, and bore N. 49° E. eleven miles ; and the third, to which 
the name of Franklin was given, bore N. 8i°E. sixteen miles. All 
these are much inferior in magnitude to the central island of St. 

For several days before anchoring here, we had observed 
large flocks of sooty petrels ; and I found the surface of the island, 
where it was sandy and produced small shrubs, to be full of their 
burrows. Pinguins, similar to those of Furneaux's Islands, had 
their burrows nearer to the water side. A small species of kanguroo, 
was also found, and at some preceding season the island had been fre- 
quented by gee$e ; but at this time, the vegetation being almost burnt 
up, they seemed to have quitted it from want of food. The heat 
was, indeed, such as to make walking a great fatigue; and this was 
augmented by frequently sinking into the bird holes, and falling 
upon the sand. The thermometer stood at 98° in the shade, whilst 
it was at 78 on board the ship. 

Where the surface is not of sand it consists of calcareous rock, 
mostly in loose pieces ; but the stone which forms the basis of the 
island is heavy and of a close grain, and was judged to be porphyry. 
In the crevices of a low calcareous cliff, at the south-east side of the 
bay, I found some thin cakes of good salt, incrusted upon a stone 
containing lamina of quartz. 

A party was sent on shore at dusk, to collect petrels, and in 

less than two hours returned with sufficient to give four birds to 

Thursday 4. every man in the ship. Early in the morning, the boats were again 

sent upon the same errand, and to haul the seine ; but the birds were 

gone off to sea for the day, and no fish were caught. A small 

Digitized by 


Nuytf Archipelago.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 109 

kanguroo was brought off, as also a yellow snake, which was the isoa. 
second killed on this island. The great heat deterred the naturalists ^^J" 
from going on shore this morning, for the very little variety in the 
vegetable productions presented no inducement to a repetition of their 
fatigue. I landed to see what further could be discovered of the 
neighbouring islands; and we then -prepared to get under way so 
soon as the breeze set in from the south-eastward, which it usually 
did about noon, after a few hours of calm or of light airs. 

The small bay in the Isle St. Francis, which I call Petrel 
Bay> affords excellent shelter for two or three ships ; but no fresh 
water, not even to rince our mouths, could be found at this time ; 
and a few scattered bushes were the nearest approach to wood upon 
the island. Petrels, pinguins, and a few hair seals may be procured, 
and probably some geese in the wet season. 

I had hitherto observed upon this coast, that the south-east 
and east winds produced the same effect upon the barometer as at 
the Cape of Good Hope, in keeping the mercury high, commonly at 
or above 30 inches; and the more fresh was the wind, the higher it 
stood ; but within the last few days, the barometer was much lower 
with the same winds, and at this time was at 29,74. The dense haze 
which prevailed might possibly have caused the change, but I sus- 
pected another reason for it. Winds coming off the land, I had 
remarked, had a tendency to depress the mercury, and sea winds to 
make it rise, though no change took place in the weather ; and it 
therefore seemed probable, as the trending of the coast beyond 
these islands was unknown, that the south-east and east winds came 
off the land, and not from the sea, as before; in which case, the 
unknown coast would be found trending to the southward, a coryec- 
ture which, it will be seen, was verified. That there was no entrance 
to a strait, nor any large inlet near these islands, was almost demon- 
strated by the insignificance of the tides ; for neither in Fowler's 
Bay, nor at this Isle St. Francis, could any set be perceived; nor was 
there any rise by the shore worthy of notice. 
vol. 1. S s 

Digitized by 


110 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. At half past one we left Petrel Bay; and having passed 

T*uw!T between the small isles to the north-east, steered for Evans' Island, 
and toward the Isles of St. Peter, which were expected to lie beyond 
it. At five o'clock, we passed between Evans' Island and some 
rocks above water, with breakers round them, lying three miles to 
the eastward. An island, equally high with that of St. Francis, was 
then seen to the north, and low land extended from it to N. 45° E., 
which had some appearance of being part of the main. We steered 
for these lands ; and seeing an opening between them at sunset, I 
attempted it in the hope of getting anchorage for the night; but the 
water shoaled suddenly, from 4 fathoms to sixteen feet upon rocks, 
and obliged me to veer on the instant. We then stood back to the 
southward, till eight o'clock, and nothing being perceived in the 
way of the ship's drift, hove to for the night. 
Friday 5. The wind was north-east in the morning ; and at half past 

four o'clock we filled the sails and steered eastward until eight, 
when the central island of St. Francis bore N. 71* W., and Franklin's 
Isles, for there are two, besides rocks, were distant four leagues, the 
small opening between them bearing N. «8° W. To the south-east- 
ward of these islands, at the distance of eleven miles, is a low pro- 
jection of the main land, to which the name of Point Brown was 
given, in compliment to the naturalist ; and four leagues further, in 
' the same line, was a cliffy head, called Cape Bauer after the painter 
of natural history. Between these projections there was a wide 
space where no land was visible, and for which we accordingly 
steered on the wind veering more to the northward. The atmos- 
phere was still hazy, -more especially about the horizon, and no 
observations worthy of confidence could be taken for either latitude 
or longitude. At noon, 

Franklin's Isles bore - N. 48^° to 56^ W. 

Point Brown, distant four miles, - N. 34 W. 

Cape Bauer, south extremity, dist. 3 leagues, S. 50 E. 
No land was yet visible a-head ; and there being much refuse from 

Digitized by 


Nuytf Archipelago.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 111 

the shore, as well as sea weed floating about, some hopes of finding isoa. 
a river were entertained. At half past two, however, low, sandy jStoy 1 ?.* 
land was seen from the mast head, nearly all round, the depth had 
diminished from tg to 7 fathoms, and the water was much dis- 
coloured in streaks, at less than a mile from the ship. Smokes 
were rising in three different places ; but as the wind was unfavour- 
able, and there was no prospect of any opening sufficiently large to 
admit the Investigator, I gave up the further examination of this 
place, and called it Streaky Bay. 

There remained nearly forty miles of space, between Point 
Bell and Point Brown, in which the main coast had not been seen. 
This it was necessary to explore; but the wind being then at north- 
north-east, I steered to the southward, to gain some further know- 
ledge of the coast in that direction, before dark. 

West of Cape Bauer, and distant four miles, there is a low island, 
extensively surrounded with rocks and breakers, which I called 
Olive's Island. We passed between it and the cape, and observed 
the cliffs of the latter to be stratified, and apparently calcareous. 
Another cliffy, and somewhat higher projection opened from it at 
S. i" W., distant seven miles, the intermediate low land forming a 
bight four or five miles deep, which is mostly skirted by a sandy 
beach. This projection I named Point fFestall, in compliment to 
the landscape painter; and at six in the evening, when it bore north- 
east-by-east two or three miles, we veered round to the northward. 
Beyond Point Westall the coast takes a more eastern direction, the 
first land which opened out from it being at S. 43 E. : this way a 
third cliffy projection, terminating another sandy bight in the coast. 
No hill, nor any thing behind the shore could be perceived, but it 
does not certainly follow that there are no hills in the back country, 
for the haze was too thick to admit of the sight extending beyond 
four or five leagues. 

The wind having veered to east-north-east, we kept to the 
northward all night, under easy sail; and at daylight, the lands Saturday*. 
around us were in the following bearings : 

Digitized by 


[South I 


80 W. 























1803. I. St. Francis, the largest, southern cliffs, 

Sto^e. Lacy's Isle, centre, - 

Evans' Isle, centre, - 

Franklin's Isles, extremes, - N. 29* 

Point Brown, south extremity, 

Cape Bauer, north extremity, 

Olive's Island, centre, 

Cliffy head beyond Point Westall, 
All sail was made to fetch between Franklin's Isles and Point Brown, 
in order to follow the course of the main land as close as possible ; 
but finding, after several tacks, the impossibility of weathering the 
isles, we bore away; and at noon hauled up north-north-east, round 
them. The wind was light at east, and the weather fine over head; 
but there was so dense a haze below, that the true horizon could 
not be distinguished from several false ones, and we had six or seven 
different latitudes from as many observers : those taken by me to 
the north arid south, differed 19 minutes. This dense haze, from 
its great refractive power, altered the appearance of objects in a 
surprising manner : a sandy beach seemed to be a chalky cliff, and 
the lowest islands to have steep shores. The thermometer stood, 
at this time, at 82 , and the barometer at 29,60 inches. 

On the north side of Point Brown the shore formed a large 
open bay, into which we hauled up as much as the wind would permit, 
passing near to a reef of rocks and breakers, two miles to the north- 
north-east of Franklin's Isles. At half past two, the water had 
skoaled to 5 fathoms ; and not being able to distinguish any inlet, 
we then bore away westward along the land. The number of 
smokes rising from the shores of this wide, open place, induced me 
to give it the name of Smoky Bay. 

At four o'clock we passed the small opening which had been 
unsuccessfully attempted in the evening of the 4th, and hauled up 
northward under the lee of the island forming its western side. The 
main land then came in sight a-head ; but between it and the islands 
was a space five or six miles wide, which had the appearance of 

Digitized by 


Nuytf Archipelago.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 113 

being the entrance to a river. No land was visible to the north-east; 1802. 
and besides quantities of grass and branches of trees or bushes float- Saturdays, 
ing in the water, there was a number of long, gauze-winged insects 
topping about the surface, such as frequent fresh-water lakes and r 
swamps. In order to form a judgment of how much fresh, was 
mixed with the salt water, or whether any, I had some taken up for 
the purpose of ascertaining its specific gravity ; but before the 
experiment could be made, the depth diminished to 3 fathoms, and 
low land was distinguished nearly all round. We then veered ship; 
and at seven o'clock came to an anchor in 6 fathoms, off a small 
beach on the north side of the western and smallest island, being 
sheltered at all points except between S. 58 and N. 8o° W. 

The specific gravity of the water taken up proved to be 1 ,034, 
or ,008 greater than the water of the Southern Indian Ocean, west- 
ward of the Island Amsterdam ; although the temperature in which 
it was weighed, was higher by 14 . This circumstance, with the 
shallowness of the inlet and the land having been seen to close round 
so nearly, made me give up the intention of attempting to proceed 
any higher up, since no river of importance was to be expected. 

Great flocks of sooty petrels were observed coming in from 
sea to the island, and at the first dawn next morning, a boat was Sunday 7. 
sent to collect a quantity of them, and to kill seals ; but the birds 
were already moving off, and no more than four seals, of the hair 
kind, were procured. The botanists preferred going on shore to 
the more eastern land, which, though low, was much more exten- 
sive than the island nearer to the ship; and in fact, it was not 
yet ascertained whether it were not a part of the main. I went to 
the higher island with a theodolite to take bearings; and as the 
survey had shown that no dependence was to be placed in any 
observations taken on board the ship during the last five days, I 
took with me the necessary instruments for determining the latitude 
and longitude. 

Granite was found to compose the rocks of the shore, and 
seemed to be the basis of the island ; but it was covered with a crust* 

Digitized by 


114 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. of calcareous stone, in some places fifty feet thick. The soil at the 
Sundayrl top was 'little better than sand, but was overspread with shrubs, 
mostly of one kind, a whitish velvety plant — (artriplex reniformis of 
Brown),* nearly similar to what is called at Port Jackson, Botany- 
Bay greens. Amongst these, the petrels had everywhere undermined ; 
and from the excessive heat of the sun, the reflexion from the sand, 
and frequently stepping up to the mid-leg in the burrows, my 
strength was scarcely equal to reaching the highest hill near the 
middle of the island. I had no thermometer, but judged the temper- 
ature could scarcely be less than 120 ; and there was not a breath 
of air stirring. My fatigue was, however, rewarded by an extensive 
set of bearings, and I overlooked the lower and larger island to the 
eastward, and saw the water behind it communicating with Smoky 
Bay. That low land and the island upon which I stood, being the 
north-easternmost of this archipelago, must I conceive, be the Isles 
of St. Peter in Nuyts' chart ; notwithstanding their relatively small 
distance from those of St. Francis. The bay to the northward, be- 
tween these islands and the main land, I named Denial Bay, as well 
in allusion to St. Peter as to the deceptive hope we had formed, of 
penetrating by it some distance into the interior country. The bear- 
ings most essential to the survey, taken from this station, were these, 

Point Brown, sandy hillocks on it, S. 52" o' E, 

Franklin's Isles, the extremes, - S. 49 15* to 33 45 E. 

Evans' Isle, centre, - S. 33 oW. 

Isles of St. Francis, southernmost, 

the centre, - - S. 34 o W. 

— — — ,the largest, extremes, S. 38 o to 46 20 W. 

Lacy's Isle, centre, - - S. 51 o W. 

Purdie's Isles, the easternmost, N. 83 15 W. 

Lound's Isle, centre, - - N. 76 30 W. 

Point Bell, the hill on it, - - N. 73 o W. 

Point Peter, across Denial Bay, - N. 12 45 W. 

On returning to the shore to complete my observations, a 

* Prod.Jhr. Nov. HolL p. 406. 

Digitized by 


Nuytf Archipelago.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 1 15 

flock of teal presented themselves, and four were shot. There were „ }*°2- 

r February. 

also pied shags, and gulls of three species ; and in the island were Sunday 7. 
seen many crows, a green paroquet, and two smaller birds. A black 
snake, of the common size, was killed, but its form did not bespeak 
it to be venemous. After observing the sun's altitude at noon, I re- 
turned on board with the intention of getting the ship under way, to 
examine more closely a bight in the coast near Point Bell ; and then 
of returning to Petrel Bay in the Isle St. Francis, in order to 
obtain better observations for a base to my chart of this archipelago. 
At two o'clock, Mr. Brown and his party returned from the eastern 
island, bringing four kanguroos, of a different species to any be. 
fore seen. Their size was not superior to that of a hare, and they 
were miserably thin, and infested with insects. No other than cal- 
careous rock was seen upon the eastern island. It seemed to afford 
neither wood nor water, nor were there any marks of its having 
been visited by the natives of the continent ; in which respects it re- 
sembled th£ western island, as it also did in its vegetation, and in 
being frequented by the sooty petrel. Mr. Brown's pocket thermo- 
meter stood at 125 when placed on the sand, and 98 in the shade ; 
whilst on board the ship the height was only 83 . 

The sun was too high at noon for its altitude to be taken from 
an artificial horizon, with a sextant ; but by lying down upon the 
beach, I obtained it from the sea horizon, tolerably free from the 
refractive errors caused by the haze. The latitude of the north side of 
the western Isle of St. Peter, thus observed, was 32 21%' south, and 
the longitude by time keepers, corrected as usual, 133 29' east. There 
was no set of tide past the ship ; but from eight o'clock to noon, 
the water had risen about a foot by the shore. 

The anchor was weighed on the return of the botanists, and 
we steered westward past the small island named Lound's, and as 
far as Purdie's Isles ; when, having seen the whole line of the 
coast behind them, we hauled to the southward at six o'clock, for 
Petrel Bay ; and atone in the morning came to, in 13 fathoms, near Monday 8. 
our former anchorage. 

Digitized by 


116 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. It was here confirmed by satisfactory observations on shore, 

that our former latitudes and longitudes taken on board the ship were 
erroneous ; and the consequent necessity of reconstructing my chart 
of these islands, induced me to remain at anchor the rest of the day. 
A boat was sent to fish with hook and line, and had some success ; 
and at dusk a sufficient number of sooty petrels were taken from 
the burrows to give nine to every man ; making, with those before 
caught, more than twelve hundred birds. These were inferior to 
the teal shot at the western Isle of St. Peter, and by most persons 
would be thought not eatable, on account of their fishy taste ; but 
they made a very acceptable supply to men who had been many 
months confined to an allowance of salt meat. 

The latitude of our anchorage in Petrel Bay proved to be 
8 2 ° 83i' south, and corrected longitude , by time keepers, 133 15^' 
east. The variation of the compass on the binnacle, with the ship's 
head south-eastwardly, but the exact point not noted, was a 23' 
west. Other azimuths, taken five leagues to the north-westward, 
with the head south-half-west, gave o° 19' east ; and six leagues to the 
eastward, the head being north-half-west, we had o° 16' east. All 
these observations, being corrected, and supposing the ship's head 
in the first case to have been south-east-half-east, as is probable, 
would agree in showing that the true and magnetic meridians exactly 
coincided at the Isles of St. Francis in 180a. 

Being about to quit this archipelago, it may be expected that I 
should make some general remarks upon it. The basis stone of the 
islands where we landed, and that of the others, as also of the pro- 
jecting parts of the main, appeared to be similar, was either por- 
phyry or granite ; but this was generally covered with a stratum, 
more or less thick, of calcareous rock. The arid sterility of the two 
largest islands has been already mentioned ; and yet they appeared 
superior to any of the smaller isles, where there was no proba- 
bility that the small kanguroos could exist in the dry season. The 
surface of the continent seemed to be almost equally destitute of 

Digitized by 


- Myfe* Archipelago.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA 117 

vegetable soil to cover the sand and rock ; and from the hot winds F ™os- 
off the land, which we felt in Streaky and Smoky Bays, it would seem 
that this aridity prevails to a considerable distance in the interior. 
There are, however, some grounds to believe, that a lake, or run of 
fresh water exists not far from Denial Bay : the flock of teal seen upon 
the western Isle of St. Peter, and the number of winged, fresh-water 
insects skimming the surface of that bay, are the grounds to which I . 


My examination of this group of islands was tolerably minute 
to be done wholly in a ship ; but much still remained, which boats 
would best accomplish, to make the survey complete, especially in 
the bays of the main land. No more than a general examination was 
prescribed by my instructions at this time, and I therefore left the 
minute parts for a second visit, when the ship would be accompanied 
by the Lady Nelson tender. 

Upon the identity of the particular islands composing this 
group, as compared with the chart of Nuyts' discovery, there may 
possibly be some difference of opinion, but there can be no doubt 
that the group, generally, is the same with that laid down by the 
Dutch navigator ; and I therefore distinguish it from others upon 
this coast by the title of Nuyts' Archipelago. Besides the nine 
Isles of St. Francis and two of St. Peter, and several distinct rocks 
and patches of reef, it contains Sinclair's four Rocks, Purdie's Isles, 
Lound's Isle, Lacy's and Evans* Islands, Franklin's Isles, and Olive's 
Island ; all of which are named after young officers of the Investi- 
gator. The state of navigation in 1627, does not permit the expec- 
tation of any exact coincidence between the islands laid down by 
the Dutch and those in my chart; if a few leading features of re- 
semblance be found, this is all that can be fairly required ; and these 
I shall endeavour to trace. 

The cape marked A (see the copy of the Dutch chart from 
Thevenot), the Point B, and the western reefs, I conceive to be 
clearly identified in Cape Nuyts, Point Fowler, and Nuyts' Reefs, 
vol. 1. T t 

Digitized by 


118 A VOYAGE TO [&ttffc Coart. 

i8o«. although there be a difference of near half a degree in latitude. 
The next leading mark is the line of islands marked 1, a, to 5, 
extending south-south-east from the furthest extremity of thp 
main land. I found no islands corresponding to the first three of 
these ; but the main coast, there trends south-east, and there are 
cliffy projections upon it which might appear like islands to a ship 
so far distant as not to raise the intermediate beaches. I conceive 
then, that the island marked 3, is the projecting point which 
I have named Point Bell ; and that 1 and 2 are the two cliffy pro- 
jections further northward. The island marked 4 will be the largest 
of Purdie's Isles ; and in looking on, nearly in the same line, we find 
5 in Lacy's Island. The island 6, or St. Francis, should lie to the 
west-south-west, or perhaps south-west, for since the line of the five 
islands is two points too much to the right, this bearing may be the 
same. To the south-west-by-south the large Isle St. Francis is found, 
in the centre of eight smaller isles which Nuyts has not distinguished. 
The islands 8, 9, and 10 , are to be sought to the east-north-east of 
5, or Lacy's Island, or rather to the north-east, two points to the 
left ; and there we find, though not very exactly, Evans' Island 
and the two Isles of St. Peter. Island 7 should be to the north-west 
of 8, and in a direction between 4 and g ; and in that position is 
Lound's small Isle. 

This explanation, I am aware, may be disputed, because it 
leaves Franklin's Isles unnoticed ; and it may be objected, that had 
Lound's Isle been seen, the main land north of it would have been 
seen also. That Nuyts passed to the southward of all the islands 
laid down in his chart seems improbable, since he distinguished only 
one of the Isles of St. Francis ; but if this be supposed, then 
7 and 8 might be Evans' and Franklin's Isles, and g and 10 would 
be Point Brown and Cape Bauer, which lie to the south-east, 
instead of north-east ; and in this case the islands which I suppose 
to be St. Peter's, and that of Lound, will not have been seen. The 
question is, in fact, of no importance, other than what arisies from a 

Digitized by 


NkyU? Archipelago.'] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 119 

desire to do justice to the Dutch navigator ; and on this head, I trust 1802 - 
there can be no accusation. My opinion coincides with the first 
explanation ; and unless an island exist to the south-west of St. 
Francis, and I am tolerably certain that none lies within five leagues, 
a correspondence more free from objections cannot easily be 
pointed out. 

Digitized by 


120 A VOYAGE TO [Sputo Coast. 


Prosecution of the discovery of the unknown coast. Anxious Bay. An- 
chorage at Waldegrave's and at Flinders' Islands. The Investigator's 
Group. Coffin's Bay. Whidbey's Isles. Differences in the magnetic 
needle. Cape Wiles. Anchorage at Thistle's Island. Thorny Passage. 
Fatal Accident. Anchorage in Memory Cove. Cape Catastrophe, and 
the surrounding country. Anchorage in Port Lincoln, and refitment 
of the ship. Remarks on the country and inhabitants. Astronomical 
and nautical observations. 

1802. J\ T d a y break j n the morning of Feb. 9, when the anchor was 
Tuesday 9. weighed from Petrel Bay to prosecute the examination of the 
unknown coast, we were unexpectedly favoured with a refreshing 
breeze from the westward ; and our course was directed for Cape 
Bauer. At noon, the latitude from mean of observations to the 
north and south, which differed only 1', was 3a 43' 17"; but although 
our distance from the land could not be more than three leagues, 
no part of it was distinguishable; the haze was very thick, 
but it was of a different nature, and had none of that extraordi- 
nary refractive power which the atmosphere possessed during the 
prevalence of the eastern winds. At one o'clock, Olive's Island was 
indistinctly perceived ; and at two we came in with Point Westell, 
and then steered south-south-eastward along the coast at the dis- 
tance of four or five miles. At six, a bold cliffy head, which I 
named Cape Radstock, in honour of admiral Lord Radstock, bore 
N. 75 E., six or seven miles ; and the land seemed there to take 
another direction, for nothing beyond it could be perceived. The 
wind was at west-south-west; and we kept on the starbord tack 
till eight o'clock, and then stood off for the night. 

Digitized by 


From Nuyti Archipelago.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 121 

At five in the morning we steered for the land; and soon 1802. 
afterward Cape Radstock was in sight, bearing N. 57 E., five w«rine*Tio. 
leagues. The latitude of this cape is 33° 12' south, and longitude 
^S^ *!> east - Other cliffy heads came in sight as we advanced 
eastward ; and at seven, the appearance of an opening induced me 
to steer close in ; but it proved to be a bight full of rocks, with low 
land behind. The line of the projecting parts of the coast is nearly 
east from Cape Radstock, for four leagues ; and at the end of them 
is a cliffy point which received the name of Point Weyland. Round 
this point, an opening was seen of so promising an appearance that 
I bore away north and north-east, for it, although land was in sight 
as far as east-south-east. Before noon, the greater part of the open 
space was found to be occupied by low land ; and no more of the 
opening remained than a small inlet through the beach, leading, 
apparently, into a lagoon, the water of which was distinguished from 
the mast head. This inlet was fit only to receive boats; and there* 
fore we hauled the wind to the southward, when the sandy shore 
near it was distant two-and-half-miles on one side, and Point Wey- 
land one mile and a half on the other. The latitude of this point is 
33° 14' south, and longitude 134, 32' east. As the day advanced 
the wind veered to south-west, and there being a swell from the 
same quarter, we could do no more than make a south-east-by-south 
course, parallel with the shore. At three o'clock, the main land 
was seen to extend out beyond what the ship could fetch ; there 
were besides, two islands lying still further out, arid a third was 
perceived in the offing, almost directly to windward. The two first 
received the name of Waldegrctoe's Isles, and the latter with some 
rocks near it were called Top-gallant Isles. Our distance from the 
sandy shore was then barely a league ; and coming into 7 fathoms 
water soon afterward, we tacked, hoping to weather Cape Radstock; 
but finding this to be impossible, were constrained to pass the night 
in working to windward in the bay. The weather was squally with 
rain, but our situation made it necessary to carry all possible sail; 

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122 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

leo*. and we had the satisfaction, at daylight, to find the ship had gained 
Ttow. ii. considerably. It then blew a strong breeze at south-west-by-south, 
and we stretched in under Waldegrave's Istes; and finding the 
water become smooth, the anchor was let go in 7 fathoms, on a 
bottom of calcareous sand, at half a mile /rom the north-east end of 
the inner and largest island. We were here sheltered from the 
present wind, but exposed from west-by-south to north-north-west ; 
the master was therefore immediately sent to sound the opening of 
one mile wide between the island and the main, by which alone we 
could hope to escape, should the wind shift to the north-westward 
and blow strong ; but the opening proved to be full of rocks and 

The press of sail carried in the night had so much stretched 
the rigging, that it required to be set up, fore and aft. Whilst 
this was doing on board, the naturalists landed upon the island; 
where I also went to take bearings with a theodolite, and observa- 
tions for the latitude and longitude. The island is about two miles 
long, and connected by rocks with the small, outer isle ; and they 
extend four or five miles from a projecting part of the main, in 
a west direction. These islands form the southern boundary, as 
Cape Radstock does the north point of a great open bay, which, 
from the night we passed in it, obtained the name of Anxious Bay. 
I found the island to bear a great resemblance to the western 
Isle of St. Peter, in its cliffy shores, granitic basis, and super-stratum 
of calcareous stone ; in its vegetable productions, and in its surface 
being much excavated by the burrows of the sooty petrel. It had 
also been frequented by geese at some preceding season of the year, 
and there were marks of its having been a breeding place for them; 
but at this thne, the vegetation was too much dried up to afford any 
subsistence. Grows of a shining, black colour were numerous; and 
hi two which I shot, the bill was surrounded at the base with small 
feathers, extending one-fourth of the length towards the extremity. 
There were jio appearances of the island having been before visited 

Digitized by 


From Nmft*' Archipelago.] TERRA. AUSTRALIA 128 

either by Europeans or Indians, and a single rat was the sole quad- isoa. 
ruped seen ; but a few hair seals were killed upon the shore. Mr. Thur^ii. 
Brown remarked, that this was the first island where not a single 
novelty in natural history had presented itself to his observation. 

From the highest part of the island I saw two patches of 
breakers, lying near three miles out from the western island ; and 
beyond the Top-gallant Isles in the offing, there was a piece of land 
of more considerable extent, which the haze did not allow of being 
well defined. No part of the main coast was visible from hence, 
beyond the projection close to Waldegrave's Isles ; but on changing 
my station to the southward, land opened from it at the distance 
of three or four leagues. The principal bearings taken were as 

Point Weyland, distant 7 or 8 leagues, - N. 24 10' W. 

Top-gallant Isles, centre of the largest, - S. 53 20 W. 

Southmost rock, like a ship under sail, - S. 48 5 W. 

Further land, the east side, - S. sy° 40' to 6g 10 W. 

Southern extreme of the coast, - S. 49 40 E. 

A squall passed over as the sun came to the meridian, and 
deprived me of an observation for the latitude ; but the centre of 
Waldegrave's largest Isle was afterwards found to be in 33°35j 
south, and the longitude by my observations on shore for the time 
keepers, was 134 44' east. 

There were strong squalls during the night, with rain, but 
the wind being off the land, the ship rode easy with a whole 
cable. At daylight, the weather was more moderate, and we Friday 12. 
stretched out for the distant piece of land in the offing. At 
noon, it was seven miles to windward, and seen to be an island 
of about five miles in length ; and being near enough at dusk to 
observe that it afforded shelter, and that there were no apparent 
dangers, we continued to beat up, and got to anchor at half past 
nine, in 7 fathoms, fine sand; the nearest beach being distant half a 
mile, and the island extending from S. 85 E. to 6f W. 

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124 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1808. In the morning, we were surprised to see breaking water 

Satunk^s. about one mile from the ship, and as much from the shore. It was 
not far from the place where the last tack had been made in the 
evening, and the master found no more than six feet water close to it; 
so that we were fortunate in having escaped. The botanical gentle- 
men landed early ; and I followed them to make the usual observa- 
tions for the survey. 

From my first station, at the north-east end of the island, the 
largest of the Top-gallant Isles bore S. 6y°E., four or five miles. 
It is of little extent, but high and cliffy ; and there are three rocks 
on its south side resembling ships under sail, from which circum- 
stance this small cluster obtained its present name. To the south- 
west, I distinguished several small islands, of which the northern- 
most and largest is remarkable from two high and sharp-pointed 
peaks upon it, lying in latitude 33° 57' and longitude 134* 13'. This 
cluster, as it appeared to be, received the name of Pearson's Isles; but 
it is possible that what seemed at a distance to be divided into several, 
may form two or three larger islands, or even be one connected land. 
Another island, about one mile long and of moderate height, was 
discovered bearing S. 72 W., about four leagues. It was surrounded 
with high breakers, as was a smaller isle near it; and the two were 
called Ward's Isles. These three small clusters, with Waldegrave's 
Isles, and this larger island, which was named Flinders', after the 
second lieutenant, form a group distinct from Nuyts' Archipelago ; 
and I gave it the name of the Investigator's Group. 

The form of Flinders' Island is nearly a square, of which each 
side is from three to five miles in length. Bights are formed in the 
four sides; but that to the north seems alone to afford good anchor- 
age. In its composition this island is nearly the same as that of 
Waldegrave's largest isle ; but between the granitic basis and the 
calcareous top, there is a stratum of sand stone, in some places twenty 
feet thick. The vegetation differed from that of other islands before 
visited, in that the lower lands were covered with large bushes; and 

Digitized by 


Investigator's Group.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 125 

there was very little, either of the white, velvety shrub (atriplex), ***• 
or of the tufted, wiry grass. A small species of kanguroo, not bigger Saturday li. 
than a cat, was rather numerous. I shot five of them, and some 
others were killed by the botanists and fheir attendants, and found 
to be in tolerably good condition. We were now beginning to want 
a supply of water, and the northern part of the island was sought 
over carefully for it ; but the nearest approach to success was in 
finding dried-up swamps, in which the growing plants were tinged 
red, as if the water had been brackish. No other trees than a few 
small casuarinas at a distance from the anchorage, were seen upon the 
island ; but wood for fuel might with some difficulty be picked out 
from the larger bushes growing near the shore. The beaches were 
frequented by seals of the hair kind. A family of them consisting 
of a male, four or five females, and as many cubs, was lying asleep 
at every two or three hundred yards. Their security was such, that 
I approached several of these families very closely ; and retired 
without disturbing their domestic tranquillity, or being perceived by 

9 m 

The latitude of the north-east sandy cove in Flinders* Island was 
found to be gg # 41' south, and longitude 134° *7y' east. The variation 
on board, observed by Mr. Thistle on the binnacle with the ship's 
head south-by-east, was o° 6' east ; which, corrected, gives o° 44' 
for the variation to be allowed on the bearings taken cm shore, or 
on board the ship with the head at north or south. The lz& appear- 
ed to be as inconsiderable here as in Nuyts' Archipelago. With the 
present southern winds the temperature at this island was very * 

agreeable; the thermometer stood between 6$° and 68°, and the 
barometer at 30,08 inches, and it was rising. 

In the morning of the 14th, the wind was at south-south-east. Sunday w. 
We weighed the anchor at daylight, and beat to windward the 
whole day ; but without gaining any thing to the southward. A little 
before midnight, the wind having veered more to the east, we passed 
the Top-gallant Isles, and at noon next day were in the following Monday is. 
situation : 
vol. 1. U u 

Digitized by 


126 A VOYAGE TO [South Cou«. 

l&os. Latitude observed, - - - «q° *q!' 

February. °° oxri 

Monday is, * Longitude from bearings, - - 134, 38 

Top-gallant Isles, centre of the largest, - N. 13 W. 
Pearson's Isles, the two northern peaks, - N. 83 W. 
No part of the main land was visible ; but the wind having veered 
back to the southward, in the nature of a sea breeze, we were then 
standing eastward ; and in two hours several smokes were seen, 
and soon afterward the land. At six o'clock, a very projecting 
point of calcareous cliffs, distant five miles, was the southernmost 
visible extreme. It was named Point Drummond, in compliment to 
captain Adam Drummond of the navy ; and lies in 34, 10' south, and 

*35° *3' east - 

The coast from Waldegrave's Isles to Point Drummond runs 
waving in a south-eastern direction, and forms bights and broad, 
cliffy heads. It appeared to be of moderate elevation, and barren ; 
but the further parts of it could not be well distinguished, on account 
of the haze. 

We tacked from the shore at six o'clock, when the following 
bearings were taken ; 

Point Drummond, - 

A broad cliffy projection, the north end, 

> south end, distant 4 or 5 miles, 
A rocky islet, distant three leagues, 
This islet lies four miles from the main land, and nothing was seen 
to prevent a ship passing between them. 

Soon after we had tacked, the wind veered gradually round 
from the south to east ; and having steered southward under easy 
sail till midnight, we then hove to. A heavy dew fell, which had 
not before been observed upon this part of the coast. 
Tuesday 16. At daylight, Point Drummond was seven miles distant to 

the north-by-east. The shore, after falling back four or five miles 
from it, trended southward ; but there was other land further but, 
and we steered for the opening between them, passing a rocky 
islet five miles from Point Drummond and nearly as much from 


14° E. 


11 W. 


96 £. 


41 W. 

Digitized by 


From Investigator's Group.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 127 

the eastern shore. At eight o'clock we found ourselves in a ^{JJ 8 - 
bay, whose width, from the outer western point of entrance, Tuesday ie. 
named Point Sir Isaac, to the shore on the east side, was near 
three leagues. It extended also far in to the south 7 south-east ; but 
the depth diminished, in less than half an hour, to 4 fathoms, al- 
though the head of the bay was still six or seven miles distant. We 
were then two miles from the eastern shoref with Point Sir Isaac 
bearing N. 67 W. ; and hoping to find deeper water in that direc> 
tion, hauled to the westward ; but coming into 3 fathoms, were 
obliged to tack, and the wind veering round from the sea, we worked 
to windward in the entrance of the bay. 

The situation of Point Sir Isaac is 34, 27' south, and from ob- 
servations of the moon with stars on each side, in 135* 13' east ; but 
by the time keepers corrected, which I prefer, the longitude is 
135° 10' east. The basis of the point seemed to be granitic, with an 
upper stratum of calcareous rock, much similar to the neighbouring 
isles of the Investigator's Group. Its elevation is inconsiderable, and 
the surface is sandy and barren, as is all the land near it on the 
same side. The large piece of water which it shelters from western 
winds, I named Coffin's Bay, in compliment to the present vice- 
admiral sir Isaac Coffin, Bart. ; who, when resident commissioner at 
Sheerness, had taken so zeaktus a part in the outfit of the Investigator. 
Coffin's Bay extends four or five leagues to the south-eastward from 
Ppint Sir Isaac ; but I do not think that any stream, more consider* 
able than perhaps a small rill from the back Jand, falls info it, since 
sandy cliffs and beach were seen nearly all round. On the east side 
of the entrance, the shore rises quickly from the beach to hills of 
considerable height, well covered with wood. The highest of these 
hills I call Mount Greenly: its elevation is between six and eight 
hundred feet, and it stands very near the water side. 

Many smokes were seen round Coffin's Bay, and also two 
parties of natives, one on each side ; thefee shores were therefore 
better inhabited than the i»ore western parts of the South Coast ; 

Digitized by 


128 A VOYAGE TO {Samtk Coat. 

!**. indeed it has usually been found in this country, that the borders of 

Tuesday 16. shallow bays and lagoons, and at the entrances of rivers, are by far 

the most numerously peopled. These natives were black and naked, 

differing in nothing that we could perceive from those of King 

George's Sound before described. 

In the evening, the wind veered to the southward ; and at 
sunset we passed Point Sir Isaac at the distance of half a mile. Our 
course was then directed to the south-west, towards two high pieces 
of land, which appeared in the offing, and obtained the name of 
Gteenly's Isles. The ship was hove to at midnight; but on seeing the 
Wedncsd. i. islands to leeward at two in the morning, we filled ; and at three, 
tacked- towards the main land. At daylight, a rocky point which 
lies ten or eteven miles to the south-south-west of Point Sir Isaac, 
and is called Point Whidbey, was distant two miles ; and the peak 
Upon the southernmost of Greenly 's Isles bore S. 66* W., four or 
five leagues. At S. l ff* E. , seven or eight miles from Point Whidbey, 
lies an island one mile in length, the middlemost and largest of seven, 
which I named Whidbey's Isles, after my worthy friend the former 
master-attendant at Sheerness. The basis of these isles appeared to 
be granitic, but the more elevated are covered with a thick crust of 
calcareous rock ; and in the middlemost, this upper stratum is per- 
forated, admitting the light through the island. 

The two easternmost of Whidbey's Isles are close to a low pro* 
jection of the main land, which was named Paint Avoid. It lies eleven 
or twefve miles to the east-south-east of Point Whidbey ; and the 
shore between them forms so deep a bight, that the peninsula between 
it and Coffin's Bay seems to be there not more than two or three miles 
broad. At the head of this bight is a low, rocky island, and there are 
rocks and breakers on each side of the entrance ; on which account, 
-and from its being exposed to the dangerous southern winds, I named 
it Avoid Bay. 

Having the wind at south-east-by-south, we beat up all the 
morning off the entrance of this bay, taking bearings of the different 

Digitized by 


Jfcm Investigator's Group ] TERRA AUSTRALIA 129 

islands and points, and of Mount Greenly which was visible over the J*»- 

. . a February. 

peninsula, to fix their relative positions. At noon, our Wedw*. 17. 

Latitude, observed to the N. and S., was - 34° 43' S*" 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 1 85 3 35 

Greenly 's Isles, the peak, bore - - N. 74 W. 

Whidbey's Isles, three westernmost, - S. $6 Q to 60 W. 

— — middlemost, north end dist. 2 miles, N. 8 1 E. 

■ ■ two near Point Avoid, - - N. 8 1 E. 

Mount Greenly, over the peninsula, - Not distinct. 

Point Whidbey, distant 7 miles, - - N. 2 E. 

At dusk in the evening, having -weathered Whidbey's Isles, 
we tacked near Point Avoid and stretched off to sea ; but on coming 
in with the land at daylight of the 18th, it appeared that nothing was Thuwdayis. 
gained, our situation being then in the same bight to the Eastward of 
the point. 

The shore of the bight is sandy and low, and trends from 
Point Avoid about five miles to the east; after which it takes a 
more southern direction and becomes higher, and the projecting 
parts of the waving coast line are cliffy. Behind the shore. the. land 
rises to a moderate height, is destitute of vegetation, and of a yellow 
colour, but whether from the surface being of bare rock, or of sand, 
could not be distinguished. 

In stretching off again, with the wind at east-south-east, we passed 
near to a small circular reef, lying nine miles from Point Avoid, 
and six from the nearest shore. Azimuths taken at this time with 
three compasses on the binnacle, and the ship's head at south (mag- 
netic), gave the mean variation i° ia' east} but with the surveying 
compass alone it was i° 39' east, which is what I allowed in the survey. 
On the preceding day, the two guns upon the quarter deck, nearest 
to the binnacle, had been struck down into the after hold ; from a 
persuasion that the differences/ ap often found in the variations and 
bearings when on different tacks, must arise from some iron placed 
too near the compasses. Strict search had been repeatedly made 

Digitized by 


130 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

1802. for sail needles, marline spikes, or other implements of iron which might 
Thuwdayi8. have been left in or about the binnacle, but I could fix on nothing 
unless it were the guns ; for it is to be observed, that notwithstanding 
the constancy of the differences, the idea of any regularly acting 
cause to derange the needle had not yet fixed itself in my mind. 
The perfection to which naval science had arrived did not allow me to 
suppose, that if a constant and unavoidable attraction existed in ships, 
it would not have been found out, and its laws ascertained ; yet no 
longer than three days before, differences had been observed, sufficient 
one would think to have convinced any man that they were produced 
by some regular cause. Off Point Drummond, about fifteen leagues 
to the north of where the variation i # 39' east was observed with the 
ship's head at south, both azimuths and an amplitude had been taken 
with the same compass. The first gave i° 33' west , the head being 
south-east-by-east; and after we had tacked, and the head was 
south-west-by-west, the amplitude gave 3 56' east ! I did not yet see, 
that as the ship's head was as much on the east side of the magnetic 
meridian in one case, a& it was to the west in the other, so was the 
variation as much too far west then, as it was too far east afterward; 
Differences like this, of 5^ °, which had frequently occurred, seemed 
to make accuracy in my survey unattainable, from not knowing what 
variation to allow on the several bearings. The guns were removed 
in the hope to do away the differences, but they still continued to 
exist, nearly in the same proportion as before ; and, almost in despair, 
I at length set about a close examinatiorf of all the circumstances 
connected with them, in order to ascertain the cause, and if possible 
to apply a remedy ; but it was long, and not without an accumula- 
tion of facts, before I could arrive at the conclusions deduced and 
explained in the Appendix No. II. to the second volume. 

We tacked towards the land soon after noon; and being 
within five miles of it at three o'clock, stood off again. The fur- 
thest extreme of the main land was a sloping low point, distant 
about three leagues ; but two or three miles beyond it, to the. south, 

Digitized by 


From Investigator's Group.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 131 

was a small island to which I gave the name of Liguanea. Some of xaos. 
Whidbey's Isles were still to be distinguished, and the bearings tL^X. 
taken just before tacking were as under : 

Inner island near Point Avoid, - N. 31 W. 

Nearest part of the cliffs, - E. N. E. 

The sloping low point, - - S. 71 E. 

Liguanea Island, highest part, - S. gy E. 

At seven in the evening, we came in with the land a little further to 
windward, and tacked at a mile and a half from a patch of breakers 
which lie N. 72 W. three or four miles from the sloping low point. 
This point was still the furthest part of the main land visible, the 
coast seeming from thence to take a more eastern direction. 

In the afternoon of the 19th, when the wind had returned to Friday 19. 
the south, we passed to windward of Liguanea Island, and saw it 
surroynded with many breakers on its south and west sides. The 
sloping low point was also visible; and three miles further eastward 
there was a steep head, with two high rocks and one lower near it, of (Atlas, 
which Mr. Westall made a sketch. This projection I named Cape view 7.) * 
Wiles, after a worthy friend at Liguanea, in Jamaica; it lies in latitude 
34° 57' south, and longitude 135 38^ east. Before dark, we got 
sight of a hill situate upon a projecting cape, thirteen miles to the 
east-south-east of Cape Wiles, and observed the intermediate coast 
to forhi a large bight or bay, which I proposed to examine in the 
morning ; and for that purpose we stood off and on during the night, 
with the wind from the southward. 

At daylight of the 20th, the hill on the east side of the bight Saturdays 
bore N. 68° E. five or six miles, and an island, named Isle Williams, 
was seen to lie two miles from it to the south-east. We steered 
north-west soon afterward, up the bight; but in an hour were able 
to see the land all round, and that this place, which I called Slea- 
ford BAY,was dangerous with the wind at south-east, as it was then . 
blowing. We*therefore braced up, to work out; and at noon, our 
situation, with that of the surrounding lands, was as follows : 

Digitized by 


182 A VOYAGE TO [South Coait. 

1803. Latitude, observed to the north and south, 3^ a' 33" 

sSSSJJJ). Longitude by time keepers, - 135 44 

Liguanea Isle, the centre nearly, - N. 67 W. 
Cape Wiles, centre of the cliffs, - N. 38 W. 
Hill on the east side of Sleaford Bay, N. 77 E. 

Isle Williams, - - - E. a N. 

In the afternoon the wind favoured us by veering to south-by- 
west, and the passage between the projection of the hill and Isle 
(Atlas, Williams seeming to be clear, we steered through it with good 
^v* 3 8? I# soundings, t ^ le l east heing id fathoms upon rippling water. Three 
miles further the main land formed a point, and took the uncommon 
direction of N. 15° W. ; but to the eastward there was a large piece of 
land, whether island or main we could not tell, and several small 
islands lay between. The opening was four miles wide; and we steered 
into it, passing through ripplings of tide with irregular sound- 
ings. No land could be seen to the north-east, but the night was 
coming on ; and as the eastern land sheltered us from the present 
wind, we ran within half a mile of the shore and anchored in 3^ 
fathoms. The master was sent to sound about the ship; and find- 
ing we had not a sufficient depth for swinging toward the shore, 
the anchor was tripped and let go further out, in 7 fathoms, on a 
sandy bottom. No part of the eastern land was visible beyond the 
bearing of N. ?(? E., distant one mile and a half; and the furthest 
extreme of what we could be certain was main land, bore 

A tide from the north-eastward, apparently the ebb, ran more 
than one mile an hour ; which was the more remarkable from no 
set of tide, worthy to be noticed, having hitherto been observed 
upon this coast. No land could be seen in the direction from whence 
it came ; and these circumstances, with the trending of the coast to 
the north, did not fail to excite many conjectures. Large rivers, 
deep inlets, inland seas, and passages into the Gulph of Carpentaria, 
were terms frequently used in our conversations of this evening ; 

Digitized by 


Cape Catastrophe.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 188 

and the prospect of making an interesting discovery, seemed to have isos. 
infused new life and vigour into every man in the ship. e ruary# 

Early in the morning, I went on shore to the eastern Jand, Sunday 21. 
anxious to ascertain its connexion with, or separation from the main. 
There were seals upon the beach, and further on, numberless traces 
of the kanguroo. Signs of extinguished fire existed every where ; 
but they bespoke a conflagration of the woods, of remote date, 
rather than the habitual presence of men, and might have arisen 
from lightning, or from the friction of two trees in a strong wind. 
Upon the whole, I satisfied myself of the insularity of this land ; and 
gave to it, shortly after, the name of Thistle's Island, from the 
master who accompanied me. In our way up the hills, to take a 
commanding station for the survey, a speckled, yellow snake lay 
asleep before us. By pressing the butt end of a musket upon his 
neck, I kept him down whilst Mr. Thistle, with a sail needle and 
twine, sewed up his mouth ; and he was taken on board alive, for 
the naturalist to examine ; but two others of the same species had 
already been killed, and one of them was seven feet nine inches in 
length. We were proceeding onward with our prize, when a white 
eagle, with fierce aspect and outspread wing, was seen bounding 
towards us; but stopping short, at twenty yards off, he flew up into 
a tree. Another bird of the same kind discovered himself by making 
a motion to pounce down upon us as we passed underneath ; and it 
seemed evident that they took us for kanguroos, having probably 
never before seen an upright animal in the island, of any other 
species. These birds sit watching in the trees, and should a kan- 
guroo come out to feed in the day time, it is seized and torn to pieces 
by these voracious creatures. This accounted for why so few kan- # 
guroos were seen, when traces of them were met with at every step; 
and for their keeping so much under thick bushes that it was im- 
possible to shoot them. Their size was superior to any of those 
found upon the more western islands, but much inferior to the 
forest kanguroo of the continent. 
vol. 1. X x 

Digitized by 


184 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

i8o«. From a clear spot upon the north-western head of the island* 

^daysi. ? traced the main coast to a cape bearing N. 18 W., where it was 
lost, but re-appeared at a Further distance, and extended to N. a£° W. 
More to the right were three small islands, which I named Sibsey, 
Stickney, and Spilsby Islands, but no other land in a north-east, and 
none in an eastern direction. On the opposite side, six leagues out 
at sea, there was a small cluster of low islands, and some rocks and 
breakers at a less distance: these were called Neptune's Isles, for 
they seemed to be inaccessible to men. In the opening between 
Thistle's Island and the main are several small isles ; and the two 
southernmost so much contract the entrance of the passage, that one 
mile and a half of its breadth, between the main land and western 
isle, was alone safe for ships: I gave to this the name of Thorny 
Passage. The bearings taken at this station, of most importance to 
the survey, were these : 

, Hill on the east side of Sleaford Bay, - 

Point where the coast turns northward, 

Hill of a conic form, on the main land, 

Sibsey I., centre, over, a nearer low rock, 

Stickney Island, centre, 

Spilsby Island, centre, 

Thistle's I., west side, furthest visible part, 

Neptune's Isles, the furthest, centre, 

— — — two nearer, the extremes, S. i° E to 4 o W. 
Thistle's Island is about twelve miles long, and from one to 
two or three in breadth, and in the middle part is high enough to be 
seen ten or twelve leagues from a ship's deck. The stone of the 
north-east end was found to be calcareous; but at the top of the 
north-west head, nbt less than two hundred feet high, there were 
many small pieces of granite, rounded to all appearance by attrition 
in the water. Some of the cliffs on the western side are white, as if 
composed of chalk, and the soil in general seemed to be sandy; yet 
the island was pretty well covered with wood, principally eucalyptus 


70 50' w. 


73 30 W. 


35 50 W. 


12 £. 


26 E. 


33 ° E - 


35 30 E- 


5 30 E. 

Digitized by 


Cape Catastrophe.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 13S 

and casuarina. No water could be found; and as the ship's hold was 1802. 
becoming very empty, I returned on board, after observing the Sunday 21. 
latitude, with the intention of running over to the main in search of 
it. But on comparing the longitude observed by lieutenant Flinders 
with that resulting from my bearings, a difference was found which 
made it necessary to repeat the observation on shore ; and as this 
would prolong the time too near dusk for moving the ship, Mr. 
Thistle was sent over with a cutter to the main land, in search of an 
anchoring place where water might be procured. 

The latitude of a small beach, on the north end of Thistle's 
Island, was found to be 34° $6'; and longitude by the time keepers 
corrected, 136 3^ , agreeing with thirty sets of lunar observations 
reduced to a place connected with this by land bearings. The 
strongest tides set past the ship at the rate of two miles an hour, 
from the north-north-east and south-south-west; the latter, which 
appeared to be the flood, ceasing to run at the time of the moon's 
passage over the meridian. It rose seven feet and a half by the lead 
line, in the night of the 20th; and there were two tides in the twenty- 
four hours. 

At dusk in the evening, the cutter was seen under sail, returning 
from the main land ; but not arriving in half an hour, and the sight of 
it having been lost rather suddenly, a light was shown and lieutenant 
Fowler went in a boat, with a lanthorn, to see what might have 
happened. Two hours passed without receiving any tidings. A 
gun was then fired, and Mr. Fowler returned soon afterward, but 
alone. Near the situation where the cutter had been last seen, he 
met with so strong a rippling of tide that he himself narrowly 
escaped being upset; and there was reason to fear that it had actually 
happened to Mr. Thistle. Had there been daylight, it is probable 
that some or all of the people might have been picked up ; but it 
was too dark to see anything, and no answer could be heard to the 
hallooing, or to the firing of muskets. The tide w^s setting to the 
southward and ran an hour and a half after the missing boat had 

Digitized by 


186 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

1802. been last seen, so that it would be carried to seaward in the first in- 
imSnli. stance 5 an( ^ no more than two out of the eight people being at all 
expert in swimming, il was much to be feared that most of them 
would be lost.* 
Monday ss. At daybreak I got the ship under way, and steered across 

Thorny Passage, over to the main land, in the direction where the 
cutter had been seen ; keeping an officer at the mast head, with a 
glass, to look out for her. There were many strong ripplings, and 
some uncommonly smooth places where a boat, which was sent to 
sound, had 12 fathoms. We passed to the northward of all these ; 
and seeing a small cove with a sandy beach, steered in and anchored 
in 10 fathoms, sandy bottom; the main land extending from north- 
half-west, round by the west and south to east-south-east, and the 
open space being partly sheltered by the northern islands of the 

A boat was despatched in search of the lost cutter, and pre- 
sently returned towing in the wreck, bottom upward ; it was stove 

* This evening, Mr. Fowler told me a circumstance which I thought extraordinary ; 
and it afterwards proved to be more so. Whilst we were lying at Spithead, Mr. Thistle 
was one day waiting on shore, and having nothing else to do he went to a certain old 
man, named Pine, to have his fortune told. The cunning man informed him that he 
was going out a long voyage, and that the ship, on arriving at her destination, would be 
joined by another vessel. That such was intended, he might have learned privately ; but 
he added, that Mr. Thistle would be lost before the other vessel joined. As to the man- 
ner of his loss the magician refused to give any information. My boat's crew, hearing what 
Mr. Thistle said, went also to consult the wise man ; and after the prefatory information 
of a long voyage, were told that they would be shipwrecked, but not in the ship they were 
going out in : whether they would escape and return to England, he was not permitted 
to reveal. 

This tale Mr. Thistle had often told at the mess table ; and I remarked with some pain 
in a future part of the voyage, that every time my boat's crew went to embark with me 
in the Lady Nelson, there was some degree of apprehension amongst them that the time 
of the predicted shipwreck was arrived. I make no comment upon this story, but re- 
commend a commander, if possible, to prevent any of his crew from consulting fortune 

Digitized by 


Cape Catastrophe.^] TERRA AUSTRALIA 187 

in every part, having to all appearance been dashed against the p 1802 - 
rocks. One of the oars was afterwards found, but nothing could Monday 22'. 
be seen of our unfortunate shipmates. The boat was again sent 
away in search ; and a midshipman was stationed upon a head land, 
without-side of the cove, to observe every thing which might drift 
past with the tide. Mr. Brown and a party landed to walk along the 
shore to the northward, whilst I proceeded to the southern extre- 
mity of the main land, which was now named Cape Catastrophe. 
On landing at the head of the cove, I found several foot *narks of 
our people, made on the preceding afternoon when looking for 
water; and in my way up the valley I prosecuted the same research, 
but ineffectually, although there were many huts and other signs 
that natives had resided there lately. 

From the heights near the extremity of Cape Catastrophe, I 
examined with a glass the islands lying off, and all the neighbouring 
shores'for any appearance of our people, but in vain ; I therefore 
took a set of angles for the survey, and returned on board ; and on 
comparing notes with the different parties, it appeared that no 
further information had been obtained of our unfortunate com- 

Next morning I went in a boat ten miles along the shore to Tuesday 23. 
the northward, in the double view of continuing the search, and 
carrying on the survey. All the little sinuosities of the coast were 
followed, and in one place I picked up a small keg, which had be- 
longed to Mr. Thistle, and also some broken pieces of the boat ; but 
these were all that could be discovered. After taking angles at 
three stations on the main land, I crossed over to the northernmost 
and largest of the six small islands lying within Thorny Pas- 
sage. It is a mile and a half long, with a small islet off the north, 
and another off its south end. These I called Taylor's Isles, in 
memory of the young gentleman who was in the cutter with Mr. 
Thistle. They lie near two miles from the main, and the depth be- 
tween is from 7 to 10 fathoms, on a sandy bottom- A ship might 

Digitized by 


'88 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

Feb?Sy. anchor and ** sheltered here, off a small beach at the north end of 
Tuesday 33. the largest island ; but I did not find any fresh water, either there 
or on the opposite parts of the main land. 

On returning to the ship, I learned from some of the gentle- 
men who had been at the top of the highest hills at the back of the 
cove, that they had seen an inlet, going in westward, a little beyond 
Wedncs. 24. where my excursion had terminated. Next day, I went up with 
instruments; and having climbed upon a high lump of granite, saw 
the water extending 40 behind the coast, and forming, apparently, 
an extensive port. The annexed view, taken from near the same spot 
by Mr. Westall, shows what was visible of this fine piece of water, 
and the appearance of the neighbouring land. In addition to this 
interesting discovery, I obtained bearings of Cape Wiles, of the fur- 
thest extremity of Thistle's Island, and of a group of four islands 
and two rocks, five leagues beyond it to the east-south-east. The 
largest of these was named Wedge Island, from its shape, and the 
group Gambier's Isles, in honour of the Worthy admiral ( now 
lord Gambier), who had a seat at the Admiralty board when the 
Investigator was ordered to be fitted. 

This morning lieutenant Fowler had been sent to search the 
southern islands in Thorny Passage for any remains of our people; 
but he was not able to land, nor in rowing round them, to see any 
indication of the objects of his pursuit. The recovery of their bodies 
was now the furthest to which our hopes extended ; but the number 
of sharks seen in the cove and at the last anchorage, rendered even 
this prospect of melancholy satisfaction extremely doubtful ; and our 
want of water becoming every* day more pressing, we prepared to 
depart for the examination of the new opening to the northward. I 
caused an inscription to be engraven upon a sheet of copper, ajid set 
up on a stout post at the head of the cove, which I named Memory 
Owe ; and further to commemorate our loss, I gave to each of the 
six islands nearest to Cape Catastrophe, the name of one of the sea- 
men : Thistle's and Taylor's Islands have been already mentioned, 

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■ ■ ■ ■ ■■■■■■!■■ ■!■■!! H HII— ■ ■ ■ I ll l •_ 

Cape Catastrophe.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 189 

Mr. Westall's view from the ship in Memory Cove, represents 1802. 
Thistle's Island and three of the small isles in front of it. WdtawSi. 

The reader will pardon me the observation, that Mr. Thistle (Atlas, 
was truly a valuable man, as a seaman, an officer, and a good mem- view 9.) 
ber of society. I had known him, and we had mostly served to- 
gether, from the year 1794, He had been with Mr. Bass in his 
perilous expedition in the whale boat, and with me in the voyage 
round Van Diemen'S Land, and in the succeeding expedition, 
to Glass-house and Hervey's Bays. From his merit and prudent 
conduct, he was promoted from before the mast to be a midshipman, 
and afterwards a master in his Majesty's service. His zeal for 
discovery had induced him to join the Investigator when atSpithead 
and ready to sail, although he had returned to England only three 
weeks before, after an absence of six years. Besides performing as- 
siduously the duties of his situation, Mr. Thistle had made himself well 
acquainted with the practice of nautical astronomy, and began to be 
very useful in the surveying department. His loss was severely felt 
by me ; and he was lamented by all on board, more especially by 
his messmates, who knew more intimately the goodness and stability 
of his disposition. 

Mr. William Taylor, the midshipman of the boat, was a young 
officer who promised fair to become an ornament to the service, as 
he was to society by the amiability of his manners and temper. The 
six seamen had all volunteered for the voyage. They were active 
and useful young jnen ; and in a small and incomplete ship's com- 
pany, which had so many duties to perform, this diminution of our 
force was heavily felt. 

The latitude of our anchorage in Memory Cove was 34 58' 
south, and longitude 135 56^' east. The variation observed on the 
binnacle by lieutenant Flinders, when the ship's head was S. by W., 
was «° 38' east, or corrected for one point of western deviation from 
the magnetic meridian, s # o' east. In the bearings taken on the 
eastern side of the high land behind the cove, the variation appeared 

Digitized by 


140 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1803. to be 3 so', but upon the summit it was i° 40', being less than on 

February* ° 

Wed** 24. board the ship. 

The soil of the land round Memory Cove, and of Cape Cata* 
strophe in general, is barren ; though the vallies and eastern sides of 
the hills are covered with brush wood, and in the least barren parts 
there are small trees of the genus eucalyptus. The basis stone is 
granite, mostly covered with calcareous rock, sometimes lying in 
loose pieces ; but the highest tops of the hills are huge blocks of 
granite. Four kanguroos, not larger than those of Thistle's Island, 
were seen amongst the brushwood ; and traces of natives were found 
so recent, that although none of the inhabitants were seen, they 
must have been there not longer than a day before. Water does 
consequently, exist somewhere in the neighbourhood, but all our 
researches could not discover it. 

Before quitting Memory Cove a boat was sent to haul a seine 
upon the beach, which was done with such success, that every man 
Thuro. 26. had two meals of fish and some to spare for salting. In the morn- 
ing, we sailed for the new discovered inlet, and at two o'clock passed 
round the projection which had been set at N. 18° W. from Thistle's 
Island. It formed the south side of the entrance to the new opening, 
and is named Cape Donington. Our soundings in passing it were 
from 7 to 9 fathoms, and in steering south-westward we left an 
island four miles long, named Boston Island, on the starbord hand, 
and passed two islets on the other side, called Bicker Isles, which lie 
offSurfleet Point. On the depth of water diminishing to 5 fathoms we 
tacked, and presently came to an anchor on the west side of this 
point, in 4^ fathoms, soft grey sand. We were then three miles 
within the entrance, and the nearest shore was a beach half a mile 
distant, lying under the hill which had been seen from Thistle's 
Island. This is a ridge of moderately high land about two miles 
long, but when seen to the north or south it assumes a conical form. 
I named it Stamford Hill ; and there being a good deal of wood 
scattered over it, a hope was given of procuring water by digging at 

Digitized by 


Pdrt Lincoln.'] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 141 

the foot. A boat was sent to make the experiment this evening, at ism. 
the -back of the beach ; but the water which flowed into the pit was ThmTSk 
quite salt; and notwithstanding the many natives huts about, no 
fresh water could be found. 

Boston Island at the entrance of the port being also woody and 
of some elevation, the boat was sent next morning to search there Friday 26. 
for water; and in the mean time I landed with the botanists, and 
ascended Stamford Hill to ascertain the nature of this inlet and take 
angles. The port was seen to terminate seven or eight miles to the 
west-south-west; but there was a piece of water beyond it, ap- 
parently a lake or mere, from which we might hope to obtain a 
supply, if no more convenient watering place should be found. 
Betwixt Cape Donington at the entrance, and Surfleet Point, was a 
large cove with a sandy beach at the head, capable of sheltering a fleet 
of ships, if the depth should be sufficient, as it appeared to be, to 
receive them : this was named Spalding Cove. Wood was not 
wanting there, but no stream of water could be distinguished. On 
the north side of the port, higher up, was a projecting piece of land, 
with an island lying off it nearly one mile in length. This island, 
which was named Grantham Island, contracts the width of that part 
to one mile and three quarters ; whereas above and below it the 
width is from two to three miles. 

The eastern entrance to the port, between Boston Island and 
Cape Donington, is one mile and a half wide; the western entrance, 
betwixt the island and what was called Kirton Point, is larger, and 
appeared to be as deep as the first, in which we had from 7 to 9 
fathoms. From Kirton Point, northward, the shore curves back to 
the west, and makes a semicircular sweep round the island, forming 
an outer bay which was named Boston Bay. It is terminated by 
Point Boston, a low point one mile and a half from the north end of 
the inland ; but whether the water between them be deep, was 
not ascertained. From Point Boston the shore takes another sweep 
to the west and northward ; and comes out again three or four 
vol, 1. Y y 

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142 A VOYAGE TO [South Coo*. 

igoe. leagues to the north-east, at a low, but somewhat cliffy projection, 
fSI^S. to which l F e the name of Point Bolingbroke. The large bight 
within, received the appellation of Louth Bay ; and two low islands 
in it, of which the largest is more than a mile in length, were 
called Louth Isles. At Point Bolingbroke the land appeared to trend 
north or westward ; and could no further be perceived from Stam- 
ford Hill. 

Thjree small isles had been seen from Thistle's Island and 
their bearings set ; and the discovery of them was now augmented 
by several others, forming a cluster to the eastward of Point Boling- 
broke. This was called Sir Joseph Banks' Group, in compliment 
to the Right Honourable president of the Royal Society, to whose 
exertion and favour the voyage was so much indebted. 

Of the numerous bearings taken with a theodolite from the 
top of Stamford Hill, those which follow were the most important 
to the connexion of the survey. 
Extremeof the land toward C. Catastrophe, - S. 17*56' E. 
Thistle's L, highest part and N. E. extr., S. 40 and 4s 50 E. 
Sir J. Banks' Group, Stickney I., centre, - N. 70 30 E. 
——————. Sibsey Island, centre, - N. 57 10 E. 

— — Kirkby Island, centre, - N. 45 20 E. 

Cape Donington, north-west extremity, - N. 37 50 E. 
Point Bolingbroke, south end, - - N. 29 is E. 

Boston Island, highest hill near the centre, N. 5 10 W. 

' ■ the extremes, - N. 15° 54/ E. to 13 46 W. 

A lake behind the head of the port, N. end, - S. 74 40 W. 
The port which formed the most interesting part of these dis- 
coveries I named Port Lincoln, in honour of my native province ; and 
* having gained a general knowledge of it and finished the bearings, 
we descended the hill and got on board at ten o'clock. The boat 
had returned from Boston Island, unsuccessful in her search for 
water; and we therefore proceeded v upward, steering different 
courses to find the greatest depth. Soon after one o'clock we 

Digitized by 



anchored in 4 fathoms, soft bottom, one mile from the beach at 1**. 

. February* 

the furthest head of the port, and something less from the southern Friday se. 

Fresh water being at this time the most pressing of our wants, 
I set off the same afternoon, with a party, to examine the lake or 
mere discovered from Stamford Hill. . The way to it was over low 
land covered with loose pieces of calcareous* rock; the soil was 
moist in some places, and, though generally barren, was overspread 
with grass and shrubs, interspersed with a few clumps of small 
trees. After walking two miles we reached the lake, but to our 
mortification, the water was brackish, and not drinkable ; the dis- 
tance, besides, from Port Lincoln was too great to roll casks over a 
stony road. This piece of water was named Sleqford Mere. It is one 
mile broad, and appeared to be three or four in length. The shore 
was a whitish, hardened clay, covered at this time with a thin crust, 
in which salt was a component part. The sun being too near the 
horizon to admit of going round the mere, our way was bent towards 
the ship; and finding a moist place within a hundred yards of the head 
of the port, I caused a hole to be dug there. A stratum of whitish 
clay was found at three feet below the surface, and on penetrating 
this, water drained in, which was perfectly sweet, though discoloured ; 
and we had the satisfaction to return on board with the certainty of 
being able to procure water, although it would probably require 
some time to fill all our empty casks. 

Early in the morning a party of men was sent with spades to Saturday 97. 
dig pits ; and the time keepers and astronomical instruments, with 
two tents, followed under the charge of Mr. Flinders. I went to 
attend the digging, leaving orders with Mr. Fowler to moor the ship 
and send on shore empty casks. The water flowed in pretty freely, 
and though of a whitish colour, and at first somewhat thick, it was 
well tasted. Before the evening, the observations for the rates of 
the time keepers were commenced ; and the gunner was installed in 
the command of a watering party, and furnished with axes to cut 

Digitized by 


144 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802, wood at such times as the pits might require to be left for replen- 

February. . , . 


The necessary duties being all set forward under the superin- 
tendance of proper officers, I employed the following days in survey- 
ing and sounding. The direction of the port was too remote from the 
meridian to obtain a base line from differences of latitude, which, 
when observed in an artificial horizon, and at stations wide apart, I 
consider to be the best; nor was there any convenient beach or open 
place where a base line could be measured. It was therefore 
attempted in the following manner: Having left orders onboard the 
ship to fire three guns at given times, I went to the south-east end 
of Boston Island, with a pendulum made to swing half seconds. It was 
a musket ball slung with twine, and measured 9,8 inches, from the 
fixed end of the twine to the centre of the ball. From the instant 
that the flash of the first gun was perceived, to the time of hearing 
the report, I counted eighty-five vibrations of the pendulum, and 
the same with two succeeding guns ; whence the length of the base 
was deduced to be 8,01 geographic miles.* A principal station in 
the survey of Port Dncoln was a hill on the north side, called North- 
side Hill, which afforded a view extending to Sleaford Mere and 
Bay, and as far as Cape Wiles on one side, and to the hills at the 

* This length was founded on the supposition, that sound travels at the rate of 1142 
' feet in a second of time, and that 6060 feet make a geographic mile. A base of 15' 24" 
of latitude was afterwards obtained from observations in an artificial horizon, and of 
25' 17" of longitude from the time keepers with new rates, both correct, as I believe, to 
a few seconds. From thia long base and theodolite bearings, the first base appeared to be 
somewhat too short; for they gave it 8,22 instead of 8,01 miles. The length of the pen- 
dulum in the first measurement was such as to swing half seconds in England ; and I 
had not thought it, in this case, worth attention, that by the laws of gravity and the oblate 
spheroid, the pendulum would not swing so quick in the latitude of 35°. I must leave it 
to better mathematicians to determine from the data and the true length of a geographic 
mile in this latitude, whether the base ought to have been 8,22 as given by the observa- 
tions and bearings: it was proved to be sufficiently near for all the purposes of a common 
nautical survey. 

Digitized by 


Port Lincoln.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 146 

beak of Coffin's Bay on the other. A great part of the bearings isoa. 
taken from hence, crossed those from Stamford Hill very advan- Fe ruary ' 

Amongst the various excursions made by the scientific gentle- 
men, one was directed to Sleaford Mere, of which they made the 
circuit. The two southern branches were found to terminate within 
a hundred yards of the head of Sleaford Bay, with which the mere 
had been suspected to have a communication from its water being 
not qpite fresh ; but they are separated by a stony bank too high for 
the surf ever to pass over it. At the head of the bay a boat's sail 
and yard were seen floating, and no doubt had belonged to "our 
unfortunate cutter : after being set out to sea by the tide, it had 
been driven up there by the late south-east winds. 

The refitment of the ship being nearly completed on the 3rd March, 
of March, lieutenant Fowler was sent round to Memory Cove in a 
boat, to make a final search along the shores and round the islands 
in Thorny Passage, for the bodies of our late shipmates, which the 
sea might have thrown up. On the 4th, the last turn of water was Thuw. 4. 
received, and completed our stock up to sixty tons; and the 
removal of our establishment from the shore waited only for the 
observation of a solar eclipse, announced in the nautical ephemeris 
for this day. The morning was cloudy, with rain; but towards 
noon the weather cleared up, and I had the satisfaction to observe 
the eclipse with a refracting telescope of forty-six inches focus, and 
a power of about two hundred. The beginning took place at 
i h 12' 37",8 of apparent time, and the end at s h 36' n",8. So soon 
as the observation was concluded, the tents and astronomical instru- 
ments were carried on board, the launch was hoisted in, and every 
thing prepared for going down the port on the following morning. 

Many straggling bark huts, similar to those on other parts 

of the coast, were seen upon the shores of Port Lincoln, and the 

paths near our tents had been long and deeply trodden; but 

•neither in my excursions nor in those of the botanists had any of 

Digitized by 


146 A VOYAGE TO [&uA ComU 

i8oa. the natives been discovered. This morning, however, three or four 
IfcunSay 4. were heard calling to a boat, as was supposed, which had just 
landed;' but they presently walked away, or perhaps retired into 
the wood to observe our movements. No attempt was made to follow 
them, for I had always found the natives of this country to avoid 
those who seemed anxious for communication ; whereas, when left 
entirely alone, they would usually come down after having watched 
us for a few days. Nor does this conduct seem to be unnatural ; 
for what, in such case, would be the conduct of any people, ourselves 
for instance, were we living in a state of nature, frequently at war 
with our neighbours, and ignorant of the existence of any other 
nation? On the arrival of strangers, so different in complexion and 
appearance to ourselves, having power to transport themselves over, 
and even living upon an element which to us was impassable; the 
first sensation would probably be terror, and the first movement 
flight. We should watch these extraordinary people from our 
retreats in the woods and rocks, and if we found ourselves sought 
and pursued by them, should conclude their designs to be inimical ; 
but if, on the contrary, we saw them quietly employed in occupations 
which had no reference to us, curiosity would get the better of fear; 
and after observing them more closely, we should ourselves seek a 
communication. Such seemed to have been the conduct of these 
Australians; and I am persuaded that their appearance on the morn- 
ing when the tents were struck, was a prelude to their coming down; 
and that had we remained a few days longer, a friendly communication 
would have ensued. The way was, however, prepared for the next 
ship which may enter this port, as it was to us in King George's- 
Sound by captain Vancouver and the ship Elligood ; to whose pre- 
vious visits and peaceable conduct we were most probably indebted 
for our early intercourse with the inhabitants of that place. So far 
as could be perceived with a glass, the natives of this port were the 
same in personal appearance as those of King George's Sound and 
Port Jackson. In the hope of conciliating their good will to sue- 

Digitized by 


Port Lincoln.} TERRA AUSTRALIA 147 

ceeding visitors, some hatchets and various other articles were left isos. 
in their paths, or fastened to stumps of the trees which had been cut 
down near our watering pits. 

In expressing an opinion that these people have no means of 
passing the water, it must be understood to be a deduction frotn our 
having met with no canoe, or the remains of any about the port ; 
nor with any tree in the woods from which a sufficient size of bark 
had been taken to make one. Upon Boston Island, however, there 
were abundant marks of fire ; but they had the appearance, as at 
Thistle's Island, of having been caused by some conflagration of the 
woods several years before, rather than of being the small fire 
places of the natives. 

There are kanguroos on the main land but none were caught ; 
our efforts, both in hunting and fishing, were indeed very confined, 
and almost wholly unsuccessful. What has been said o£ the neck 
of land between the head of the port and Sleafotd Mere* may be • 
taken as a description of the country in general i it is rocky and 
barren; but has a sufficient covering of grass, bushes, and small 
trees not to look desolate. The basis stone is granitic, with a super- 
stratum of calcareous rock, generally in loose pieces ; but in some 
parts, as at Boston Island, the granite is found at the sur^ce or 
immediately under the soil. Behind the beach, near our watering 
pits, the calcareous stone was so imperfectly formed, that small 
shells and bits of coral might be picked out of it. This fact, with 
the saltness of Sleaford Mere and of a small lake on the south side 
of the port, accords with the coral found upon Bald Head and various 
other indications before mentioned, to show that this part, at least, 
of Terra Australis cannot have emerged very many centuries from 
the sea; the salt imbibed by the rocks having not yet been all 
washed away by the rains. In the. mountains behind Port Jackson, 
on the East Coast, at a vastly superior elevation, salt is formed in 
some places by the exhalation of the water which drips from the 
grit-stone cliffs. 

Digitized by 


148 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

IMS. Port Lincoln is certainly a fine harbour ; and it is much to be 


regretted that it possesses no constant run of fresh water, unless it 
should be in Spalding Cove, which we did not examine. Our pits 
at the head of the port will however, supply ships at all times ; and 
though discoloured by whitish clay, the water has no pernicious 
quality, nor is it ill tasted. This and wood, which was easily pro- 
cured, were all that we found of use to ships ; and for the estab- 
lishment of a colony, which the excellence of the port might seem 
to invite, the little fertility of the soil offers no inducement. The 
wood consists principally of the eucalyptus and casuarina. 

Of the climate we had no reason to speak but in praise ; 
nor were we incommoded by noxious insects. The range of the 
thermometer on board the ship was from 66* to 78°, and that of the 
barometer from 29,94 to 30,20 inches. The weather was generally 
clouded, the winds light, coming from the eastward in the mornings, 
and southward after noon. On shore, the average height of the 
thermometer at noon was 76 . 

The latitude of our tents at the heat of Port Lin- 
coln, from the mean of four meridian obser- 
vations of the sun taken from an artificial 
, horizon, was - - - - 34° 48' 25" S. 

The longitude, from thirty sets of 'distances of 
the sun and stars from the moon ( see Table 
IV. of the Appendix to this volume), was 135 44 51 E. 
These observations, being reduced to Cape Donington at the en- 
trance of the port, will place it in 

Latitude - 34 44' south. 
Longitude 135 $6± east. 
No corresponding observation of the solar eclipse -appears to 
have been made under any known meridian, and from the nature of 
circumstances, the error of the moon's place could not be observed 
at Greenwich ; the distances would therefore seem most worthy of 
confidence, and are adopted ; but the longitude deduced from the 

Digitized by 


Pott Lincoln.] TERRA. AUSTRALIA 149 

eclipse, as recalculated by Mr. Crosley from Delambre's solar tables ure. 
of 1806, and the new lunar tables of Burckhardt of 1812, differs but 
very little from them : it is 135 46' 8" east. 

The rates of the time keepers, deduced from equal altitudes on, 
and between Feb. 27 and March 4, and their errors from mean 
Greenwich time, at noon there on the last day of observation, were 
found to be as under : 
Earnshaw's No. 543 slow o h 30' 30" ,54 and losing 8",43 per day 
520 - 1 9 7, 72 - - 18, 8s 
Arnold's No. 176 altered its rate prodigiously on March 1st, and on 
the 2nd it stopped. His watch, No. 1736, varied in its rate from 
7",8i to i /; ,90, so that it continued to be used only as an assistant. 

The longitude given by the time keepers with the King- 
George's-Sound rates, on Feb. 27, the first day of observation at the 
tents, was by 

No. 543, 136* 15' 9 /; ,o east. 
5«o, 135 58 53,55 
176, 136 1 23,95. 
But by allowing a rate accelerating in arithmetic progression, from 
those at King George's Sound to what were obtained at this place, the 
mean longitude by the two first time keepers would be 135 52' 16", 
or 7' 25" to the east of the lunar observations ; which quantity, if the 
positions of the Sound and of Port Lincoln be correct, is the accumu- 
lation of their irregularity during fifty-seven days. In laying down 
the coasts and islands from the Sound up to Cape Wiles, the longitudes 
are taken from the time keepers according to the accelerated rates, 
corrected by an equal proportion of the error 7' 25" in fifty-seven days. 
, From Cape Wiles to the head of Port Lincoln the survey is made from 
theodolite bearings and observed latitudes, without the aid of the time 

The Dip of the south end of the needle, taken at 
the tents, was nearly the same as in K. George's 
Sound, being - 64° 27' 

Variation of the theodolite at the same place, 1 39 E. 

vol. 1. Z z 

Digitized by 


150 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

1802. And the bearings from different stations in the port were conform- 
March ' able to this variation, except at Cape Donington, where, at a station 
on the north-western part, it appeared to be as much as 4« # east. 

The observations for the variation on board the ship, at an- 
chor in the lower part of the port, gave «° 23' west, when the ship's 
head was eastward, and o° 53' east, at south-south-east. According 
to the first, which were taken by lieutenant Flinders whilst the ship 
lay under Stamford Hill, the true variation should be o° 51' east ; 
but by the second, observed by myself near Cape Donington, «• / 
east, or nearly the same as was found in Memory Cove. Were the 
mean taken, it would be i° S9', or 10' less than at the head of the 

From Mr. Flinders' remarks upon the Tide, it appeared that 
the rise did not exceed three-and-half feet; and that, like Princess- 
t Royal Harbour, there was only one high water in twenty-four hours, 
which took place at night, about eleven hours after the moon's pas- 
sage over the meridian, or one hour before it came to the lower 
meridian ; yet at Thorny Passage, which is but a few leagues distant, 
there were two sets of tide in the day. This difference, in so short 
a space, appears extraordinary ; but it may perhaps be accounted for 
by the direction of the entrance to the port, which is open to the 
north-east, from whence the ebb comes. 
Jftiday 5. On the 5th of March in the morning, we ran down the har- 

bour, and anchored under Cape Donington at the entrance of Spal- 
ding Cove, in 7 fathoms, soft mud ; the north-western extremity of 
the point bearing N. i(F E., one mile, and partly hiding Point Boling- 
broke. In the evening, lieutenant Fowler returned from his search. 
He had rowed and walked along the shore as far as Memory Cove, 
revisited Thistle's Island, and examined the shores of the isles in 
Thorny Passage ; but could find neither any traces of our lost 
people nor fragments of the wreck. He had killed two or three 
kanguroos upon Thistle's Island. 
Saturday 6. On the following morning, I landed at Cape Donington to take 

Digitized by 


FtetLtocohi.*] TfiRRA AUSTRALIS. 1*1 

some further bearings, and Mr. Evans, the acting master, was sent 1*02. 
to sound across the entrance of Spalding Cove, and between Bicker Saturday 6. 
Isles and Surfleet Point, where a small ship-passage was found. The 
boat was afterwards hoisted up ; and our operations in Port Lincoln 
being completed, we prepared to follow the unknown coast to the 
northward, or as it might be found to trend. 

Digitized by 


A VOYAGE TO , [South Coat, 


Departure from Port Lincoln. Sir Joseph Banks 9 Group. Examination 
of the coast, northward. The, ship found to be in a gulph. Anchorage 
near the head of the gulph. Boat expedition. Excursion to Mount 
Brown. Nautical observations. Departure from the head, and ex- 
amination of the east side of the gulph. Extensive shoal. Point Pearce. 
Hardwicke Bay. Verification of the time keepers. General remarks 
on the gulph. Cape Spencer, and the Althorpe Isles. New land dis- 
covered: Anchorage there. General remarks on Kanguroo Island. 
Nautical observations. 

i«02. At ten in the morning of March 6, we sailed out of Port Lincoln, 


Saturday 6. an( * skirted along the east side of Boston Island and the entrance of 
Louth Bay, In the afternoon we passed within two miles of Point 
Bolingbroke; and at six in the evening came to an anchor in 10 fathoms, 
off the north side of Kirkby Island, which is the nearest to the point of 
any of Sir Joseph Banks' Group, and had been seen from Stamford 
Hill. A boat was lowered down to sound about the ship, and I went on 
shore to take bearings of the different islands ; but they proved to be 
so numerous, that the whole could not be completed before dark. 

Sunday 7. I landed again in the morning with the botanical gentlemen, 

taking Arnold's watch and the necessary instruments for ascertaining 
the latitude and longitude. Twelve other isles of the group were 
counted, and three rocks above water ; and it is possible that some 
others may exist to the eastward, beyond the boundary of my horizon, 
for it was not extensive. The largest island seen is four or five miles 
* long, and is low and sandy, except at the north-east and south ends ; it 
was called Reevesby Island, and names were applied in the chart to 

Digitized by 


Spencer's Gulph.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 153 

each of the other isles composing this group. The main coast ex- jjjj* 
tended northward from Point Bolingbroke, but the furthest part Sunday 7. 
visible from the top of Kfrkby Island was not more than four or five 
leagues distant; its bearing and those of the objects most important 
to the connection of the survey were these ; 

Main coast, furthest extreme, - - N. 13 40' E.- 

Point Bolingbroke, - - - - N. 86 50 W. 

Stamford Hill, station on the north end, - S. 45 17 W. 

Thistle's Island, centre of the high land, - - S. 5 37 W. 

Sibsey Island, extremes, - - S. i6°27'to 13 2 W. 

Stickney Island, - - - - S. 18 30 to 23 40 E. 

Spilsby Island, - - - - S. 39 30 to 48 25 E. 

Granite forms the basis of Kirkby Island, as it does of the 
neighbouring parts of the continent before examined ; and it is in the 
same manner covered with a stratum of calcareous rock. The island 
was destitute of wood, and almost of shrubs ; and although there 
were marks of its having been frequented by geese, none of the birds 
were seen, nor any other species of animal except a few hair seals 
upon the shore. This description, unfavourable as it is, seemed appli- 
cable to all the group, with the exception of Reevesby and Spilsby 
Islands, which are higher and of greater extent, and probably some- 
what more productive. 

The latitude of the north side of Kirkby Island, observed from 
an artificial horizon, was 34° 33' 1" south, and longitude by time 
keepers, 136° 10' 8" east. The variation from azimuths taken on 
board the ship at anchor, with the head south-by-west (magnetic as 
usual), was 2 40' east ; which corrected to the meridian, would be 
2° 2' east, the same nearly as was observed in Memory Cove, and at 
the entrance of Port Lincoln ; but an amplitude taken on shore with 
the surveying theodolite, gave 3 57' east. This seemed extraor- 
dinary when, except at Point Donington, no local attraction of im- 
portance had been found in the shores of Port Lincoln, where the stone 
is the same. It was however corroborated by the bearings ; for that o 

Digitized by 




[Sputh Coat, 



Sunday 7« 

Stamford Hill, with 3* $7' allowed, differed only a' from the back 
bearing with the allowance of i° 39' ; which is a nearer coincidence 
than I have generally been able to obtain. 

At two in the afternoon the anchor was weighed, and leaving 
most of Sir Joseph Banks' Group to the right, we steered northward, 
following the direction of the main land. The coast is very low and 
comjnonly sandy, from Boston Bay to the furthest extreme seen from 
Kirkby Island ; but a ridge of hills, commencing at North*side Hill in 
Port Lincoln, runs a few miles behind it. In latitude 34° so' this ridge 
approaches the water side, and in its course northward keeps nearly 
parallel, at the distance of two or three miles. It is moderately ele- 
vated, level, destitute of vegetation, and appeared to be granitic. At 
half past six, when we hauled off for the night, the shore was five 
or six miles distant ; the furthest part bore N. N. E. £ E., and a bluff 
inland mountain was set at N. 71 W., over the top of the front 

The wind was moderate from the south-eastward ; and at 
Monday 8. seven on the following morning, when the bluffinland mountain was 
bearing W. a Q N., we resumed our north-eastern course along the 
shore; which was distant seven miles, and had not changed its 
appearance. Towards noon the water shoaled to 6 fathoms, at three 
miles from a sandy beach ; a lagoon was visible from the mast head, 
over the beach, and a small inlet, apparently connected with it, was 
perceived soon afterward. A few miles short of this, the ridge of hills 
turns suddenly from the shore, and sweeps round at the back of the 
lagoon, into which the waters running off the ridge appeared to be re<* 
ceived. The corner hill, where the direction of the ridge is changed, 
was called Elbow Hill ; and since losing sight of the bluff inland mount, 
it was the first distinguishable mark which had presented itself for 
the survey : it lies in latitude 33* 43', and longitude 136 4«'. The 
coast there trends nearly east-by-north, and obliged us to haul close 
to the win*, in soundings of 7 to 9 fathoms. 

We had then advanced more than twenty-five leagues to the 

Digitized by 


Spencefs Gulphl TERRA AUSTRALIS. 165 

north-north-east, from Cape Catastrophe; but although nothing had isoa. 
been seen to destroy the hopes formed from the tides and direction of Monday 'a. 
the coast near that cape, they were yet considerably damped by the 
want of boldness in the shores, and the shallowness of the water ; 
neither of which seemed to belong to a channel capable of leading 
us into the Gulph of Carpentaria, nor yet to any very great distance 

At two o'clock the shore again took a northern direction, but 
it was still very low in front, and the depth did not materially 
increase. Land was presently distinguished on the starbord bow 
and beam; and before four, an elevated part, called Barn Hill from 
the form of its top, bore E. 4 N. We continued to follow the line 
of the western shore, steering iforth-north-east, and north ; and the 
wind being at south, we hauled north-westward at six o'clock, 
intending to anchor under the shelter of the land. From 7 fathoms, 
the depth diminished to 5, and quickly to seventeen feet; upon 
which we veered round, ran back into 5 fathoms, and came to an 
anchor three or four miles off the shore, on a sandy bottom. The 
wind blew fresh, with rainy squalls; but a whole cable being veered 
out, we rode smoothly all night. The furthest land visible to the 
northward, consisted of detached hummocks, of which the highest 
was called Mount Young, in honour of the admiral. Abreast of the 
ship the land rose gradually from the beach to the ridge of hills 
which still continued to run behind it ; but at this place some back 
hills were visible over the ridge ; and the highest of several hum- 
mocks upon the top, which served as a mark in the survey, was 
named Middle Mount. Observations for the time keepers were 
taken in the morning before getting under way, and the situation of Tuesday 9. 
the anchorage was found to be in 


Mount Young bore, 

Middle Mount, - 

Low western shore, extreme, 

High eastern land, about the middle, 


137° *7t' 






- W 







Digitized by 


1«6 A VOYAGE TO {Soulh Coast. 

1802. Having obtained the observations, we steered for the outermost 


Tuesday 9. of the northern hummocks, with soundings gradually increasing to 
is fathoms; but shoaling on a sudden to 7, upon coral, we hauled 
to the wind and tacked instantly ; finding, however, that the depth 
did not further decrease, I let the ship go entirely round, and con- 
tinued the former north-eastern course, with soundings from 7 to 9 

At noon, the furthest hummock seen from the anchorage was 
distant four or five miles; it stands on a projection of low sandy 
land, and beyond it was another similar projection to which I gave 
the name of Point Lowly. This was the furthest visible part of the 
western shore ; but the eastern land there approached within seven 
or eight miles, and extended northward, past it, in a chain of rugged 
mountains, at the further end of which was a remarkable peak. 
Our situation and bearings at this time were as follow : 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, - 33 5' 14" 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 137 41I. 

Middle Mount, ... S. 75 W. 

Mount Young, - - - S. 87 W. 

Point Lowly, the extreme, - - N. 43 E. 

High peak on the eastern land, - ltf. 25 E. 

Our prospect of a channel or strait, cutting off some consider- 
able portion of Terra Australis, was lost, for it now appeared that 
the ship was entered into a gulph ; but the width of the opening 
round Point Lowly left us a consolatory hope that it would termi-r 
nate in a river of some importance. In steering for the point we came 
into 4 fathoms, but on hauling to the eastward found 8, although 
a dry sand bank was seen in that direction. The depth afterwards 
diminished to 6, on which the course for Point Lowly was resumed; 
and we passed it at the distance of a mile and a half, in 9 fathoms 
water. Here the gulph was found to take a river-like form, but the 
eastern half of it was occupied by a dry, sandy spit and shoal water. 
We continued to steer upwards, before the wind ; but as the width 

Digitized by 


Spencer's Gulph.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 157 

contracted rapidly, and there was much shoal water, it was under isos. 
very easy sail, and with an anchor ready to be let go. At four o'clock, Tuesday 9. 
in attempting to steer close over to the western side, we came sud- 
denly into «~ fathoms ; the ship was instantly veered to the east- 
ward, and on the water deepening to 7, we let go the anchor and 
veered out a whole cable ; for the wind blew a fresh gale right up 
the gulph, and between S. 4 W< and 30 E. there was no shelter from 
the land. At sunset, a second anchor was dropped under foot. 

We had reached near five leagues above Point Lowly, at the 
entrance of the narrow part of the gulph ; but the shores were low on 
both sides, and abreast of the ship not so much as four miles asunder. 
At the back of the eastern shore was the ridge of mountains before 
mentioned, of which Mr. Westall made the sketch given in the (piatexvii. 
Atlas; and the highest peak toward their northern extremity, after- vicw l0 * 
wards called Mount Brown, bore N. 3a E. On the western side, 
upwards, there was moderately high, flat-topped land, whose eastern 
bluff bore. N. 36* W., about three leagues, and there the head of the 
gulph had the appearance of terminating ; but as the tide ran one 
mile an hour past the ship, we still flattered ourselves with the 
prospect of a longer course, and that it would end in a fresh-water 

Early on the following mprning, Messrs. Brown, Bauer, and Wednes. ia 
Westall, with attendants, set off upon an excursion to the eastern 
mountains, intending, if possible, to ascend to the top of Mount 
Brown ; and I went away in a cutter, accompanied by the surgeon, 
to explore the head of the gulph, taking with me Arnold's pocket 
time keeper. After crossing the middle shoal upon which we had 
2^ fathoms in the ship, the water deepened to 10, but afterwards 
diminished to s, on approaching the mangroves of the western side. 
Keeping then upwards, I had from 7 to 10 fathoms in the mid-chan- 
nel ; but found shoal water extending a mile, and sometimes more, 
from the shore, and no possibility of landing until we came near the 
broad, flat-topped hill. From the eastern bluff of this hill, Mount 
vol. 1. 3 A 

Digitized by 


158 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1803. Brown bore N. 6*° to' E., and Mount Arden, a peak nearly at the fur- 
Wednes. io. thest extremity of the ridge, N. 18 40* E. ; and the inlet was seen to run 
in a serpentine form to the northward, between low banks covered 
with mangroves. After taking the bearings, we returned to the boat 
and pursued olir course upward along the western shore, having from 
4to 7 fathoms past the bluff; but the inlet was there less than two miles 
wide, and b league further on it was contracted to one mile ; half of 
which, besides, was occupied by mud flats. These banks were fre- 
quented by ducks and other water fowl; and some time being occu- 
pied in chasing them, our distance above the ship was not so much as 
five leagues in straight a line, when the setting sun reminded us of look- 
ing out for a place of rest. A landing was effected with some diffi- 
culty amongst the mangroves on the eastern shore; and from a 
small eminence of red earth, I set the ship's mast heads atS. 14°E., 
and Mount Brown N. 85 E. 
Thursday 11. Next morning we continued the examination upwards, carry- 

ing 4, 3> and 2 fathoms in mid-channel ; but at ten o'clock our oars 
touched the mud on each side, and it was not possible to proceed 
further. I then landed and took observations in an artificial horizon 
for the time keeper, which gave 4/ 34" of longitude to the west of 
the ship, or only two seconds more than was deduced from the 
bearings. Mount Brown bore S. 7a E., Mount Arden N. «6°E., 
and my last station on the eminence of red earth S. 6° E. The inlet 
wholly terminated at one mile and a half to the If. 16° W. 

It seemed remarkable, and was very mortifying, to find the 
water at the head of the gulph as salt nearly as at the ship ; never- 
theless it was evident, that much fresh water was thrown into it in 
wet seasons, especially from the eastern mountains. The summits 
of the ridge lie,, from three to four leagues back from the water side, 
but the greater part of that space seemed to be low, marshy land. 
To the northward no hill was visible, and to the westward but one 
small elevation of flat-topped land ; all else in those directions was 
mangroves and salt swamps, and they seemed to be very extensive. 

Digitized by 


Spencef>$ Gulph.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 1» 

Two miles below the place where the observations for the titfte isofc 
keeper were taken, was a small cliff of reddish clay on the western Thui* iu 
shore; and being near it on our return, when the sun was approach- 
ing the meridian, I landed to observe the latitude. It was 33° zf 56" 
south ; so that the termination of the gulph may be called in 32° »4y 
without making a greater error than half a mile. Mount Brown 
bore from thence S. 8oj° E., and its latitude will therefore be 3a 36^ 
south; the longitude deduced from bearings and the time keepers . 
on board, is 138° o^' east. 

Our return to the ship was a good deal retarded by going after 
the black swans and ducks amongst the flats. The swans were all 
able to fly, and would not allow themselves to be approached ; but 
some ducks of two or three different species were shot, and also several 
sea pies <y red bills. Another set of bearings was taken on the 
western shore, and at ten in the evening we reached the ship, where 
Mr. Brown and his party had not been long arrived. The 
ascent to Mount Brown had proved to be very difficult, besides 
having to walk fifteen miles on a winding course, before reaching 
the foot ; by perseverance, however, they gained the top at five on 
the first evening, but were reduced to passing the night without ' 
water ; nor was any found until they had descended some distance 
on the following day. The view from the top of Mount Brown 
was very extensive, its elevation being not less than three thousand 
feet ; but neither rivers nor lakes could be perceived, nor any thing 
of the sea to the south-eastward. In almost every direction the eye 
traversed over an uninterruptedly flat, woody country ; the sole ex- 
ceptions being the ridge of mountains extending north and south, and 
the water of the gulph to the south-westward. 

Mr. Brown found the stone of this ridge of craggy mountains 
to be argillaceous, similar to that of the flat-topped land where I 
had taken bearings on the west side of the inlet. It is reddish, 
smooth, close-grained, and rather heavy. Bushes and some small 
trees grow in the hollows of the rising hills; and between their 

Digitized by 


*«> A VOYAGE TO tSouih Coast, 

i86s. feet and the mangrove swamps near the water, there was some 
tolerably good, though shallow soil. 

We had seen fires upon the eastern shore opposite to Point 
Lowly, on first entering the head of the gulph, and wherever I had 
landed there were traces of natives; Mr. Brown found them even to 
a considerable height up the side of the mountain; and it should 
therefore seem that the country here is as well inhabited as most 
parts of Terra Australis, but we had not the good fortune to meet 
with any of the people. 

The observations taken by lieutenant Flinders fixed the posi- 
tion of the ship in latitude 32° 44' 41" south, and longitude by the 
time keepers 137* 49' 5JG! 1 east. Twelve sets of distances of the sun 
and moon gave 137° 50' 9"; but these being all on one side, the time 
keepers are preferred. Azimuths observed from the binnacle, when 
the ship's head was between S. by E. and S. S. £., gave o* 43' east, 
or i # 37' east, nearly, for the true variation ; and there was no par- 
ticular attraction upon the theodolite at any of my stations on shore. 

We had two flood tides in the day setting past the ship, and 
they ran at the strongest one mile and a half per hour; the rise 
appeared to be from six to eight feet, and high water to take place 
at two hours and a half after the moon passed the meridian. Except 
in the time of high water, which is considerably later than at Thorny 
Passage, the tides at the head have a near affinity to those at the 
entrance of the gulph ; whence the great differences at Port Lincoln, 
intermediately situate, become so much the more extraordinary. 
Saturday is. Nothing of particular interest having presented itself to detain 

us at the head of the gulph, we got under way in the morning of 
the 13th ; having a light breeze from the north-westward. The 
western shore had been followed in going up, and for that reason I 
proposed to keep close to the east side in returning; but before eight 
o'clock, the water shoaled suddenly from 4 to 2 fathoms, and the 
ship hung upon a mud bank covered with grass, two or three miles 
from the shore. A kedge anchor was carried out astern ; and in half 

Digitized by 


Spmcrfs Oulphl TERRA AUSTRALIA 161 

an hour, we again made sail downward, in soundings from 5 to 10 ***• 
fathoms, near the edge of the shoal. Saturday is. 

At noon, latitude observed to the N. and S., - g* # 57' 6" 
Mount Brown bore - - - - N. 9 30 E. 

Pt JLowly , south extreme dist. 7 miles, - S. 79 o W. 
The depth was then 7 fathoms; but there were banks a-head, 
extending to a great distance from the eastern shore, and in steering 
westward to pass round them, we had 3^ fathoms for the least water. 
It afterwards deepened to 7, and we again steered southward, but were 
not able to get near the land ; on the contrary, the shallow water 
forced us further off as we proceeded. The wind was at west-south* 
west in the evening ; and this not permitting us to lie along the edge 
of the bank, we came to an anchor in 7 fathoms, soft bottom ; being 
then above four leagues from the eastern low shore, although there 
was only 35. fathoms at less than a mile nearer in. 

Mount Brown bore - - N. ai°E. 

Barn Hill, - - - S. 43 E. 

Mount Young, - - N. 66 W. 

In the morning we followed the line of the great eastern shoal, Sunday 14. 

and its direction permitted us to approach nearer to the land, with 

soundings between 8 and 4 fathoms. A little before noon, after 

running half an hour in less than 4 fathoms and getting within 

about six miles of the land, we were obliged to tack and stretch 

off, the wind having veered to south-west. Our situation twenty 

minutes afterward, was in 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, - 33* 23' 49" 
Longitude by time keepers, - - 137 47 

Mount Young bore - - - N. 38 W, 

Middle Mount, west side of the gulph, N. 66 W. 
Barn Hill, on the east side, - - Sk 60 E. 

We beat to windward all the afternoon, and at sunset anchored in 
3|. fathoms, near the edge of the great bank and seven or eight 
miles from the land. The shore was low and sandy, but there was 
a ridge of hills behind it nearly similar to that on the west sicje of 

Digitized by 



162 A VOYAGE TO [South Const 

1805. the gulph. Barn Hill lies at the back of this ridge and about twelve 
Sunday 14* miles from the water ; and towards the southern end of the ridge was 
another hill, also some distance inland, of which I shall have occa- 
sion to speak hereafter. A middle mount on the west side of the 
gulph, higher and further back than the one before set, was in sight 
from this anchorage ; and the bearings taken were these : 

Middle back mount, - - N. 6i° W. 

Barn Hill on the east side, - S. 74, E. 
' A more southern hill, - - S. 36 E. 
Mount Brown was no longer visible ; but it had been seen this 
afternoon at the distance of fifty-eight miles, and was sufficiently 
above the horizon to have been distinguished some miles further 
from a ship's deck in a perfectly clear day. 
Monday is. On the morning of the 15th, the wind had shifted to south- 

east; and the great bank then trending south-westward, we fol- 
lowed it with variable soundings between 3 and 10 fathoms. At ten 
o'clock the water had deepened to 15 ; and being then nearer to 
the west than to the east side of the gulph, and the wind having 
come more a-head, we tacked to the east-south-east; but in fifty 
minutes were obliged to steer westward again, having fallen into 
3 fathoms on the edge of the bank. This is the narrowest part of 
the Gulph below Point Lowly, the two shores being scarcely more 
than twenty miles asunder ; and of this space, the great eastern 
bank, if the part where we last had 3 fathoms be connected with it, 
occupies about eleven, and the shallow water of the west side one or 
two miles. The soundings we had in stretching westward across the 
deep channel, were, from the shoal 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 12, 12, 10, 9, 
8, 7, 6, 7, 6, 5 fathoms, at nearly equal distances asunder, and the last 
at six miles from the western land. 

After sounding across the channel, we stood back, lying up 
south-east, and reached within five miles of the eastern shore, where 
the anchor was dropped in 4^ fathoms ; Barh Hill bearing N. 6y° E., 
and a cliffy projection, named Point Riley after the gentleman of that 

Digitized by 


SpencrfM Oulph.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 163 

name in the Admiralty, S. 1 4 W., two or three leagues. This point *«»• 
was the furthest visible part of the eastern shore ; and so low and Monday is. 
uniform had the coast been from the head of the gulph, that this was 
the first mark I had found upon it for the survey. The great eastern 
bank, which we -had already followed about sixty miles, seemed to 
terminate at Point Riley ; and from thence southward, the gulph 
greatly enlarges its breadth. The situation of the point is ab5ut 
S3* 53' south and 137 go 7 E. 

We got under way at six in the morning, and the wind being Tuesday 16. 
from the south-eastward made a good stretch along the coast until 
noon. A patch of breakers then lay five miles to the south-east ; 
but the land was ten miles distant, and some white sandy cliffs, four 
or five leagues from Point Riley, bore S. 52 E. The intermediate 
coast, as also that which extends several leagues to the north of the 
point, is low and sandy ; but at a few miles back it rises to a level 
land Of moderate elevation, and is not ill clothed with small trees. 
In the afternoon we had to beat against a southern wind ; and the 
coast in that part being too open for anchorage, this was continued 
all night and the next morning ; but with so little profit, that the Wcdnes. 17. 
same land was still in sight at noon, and our situation found to be as 
follows ; 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, - 34* 15' 24" 
Longitude by time keepers, - - 137 34I 

North extreme near the sandy cliffs, dist. 6 miles, N. 19 E. 
Low red cliffs, south end dist. 6 or 7 miles, - S. 54 E. 
At six in the evening, the reddish cliffs were brought to bear 
N. 44 # E., and a long point, or an island lying off a point, bore 
S. 43 W. two leagues. Our distance from a cliffy islet, close under 
the shore, was two or three miles, but the breakers from it wece only 
half a mile off, and the depth was 4 fathoms. 

On the 18th in the morning, we fetched to windward of the Thuwdayia. 
island-like point, to which I gave the name of Point Pearce, in com- 
pliment to Mr. Pearce of the Admiralty. Its latitude is 34 sS^' 

Digitized by 


164 A VOYAGE TO [South Coa$t 

1802. south, and longitude 137* «i' east. On the south side of this point 
Thun? i 8# or island, for I could not fully ascertain its connexion, the shore falls 
hack seven or eight miles to the east ; and then trends southward. 
It is low and very sandy; but rises. gradually to a level country, of the 
same description as that near Point Riley. At sunset, the land was 
seen as far as south-west-by-south ; and the wind favouring us a 
little, we made a stretch for it. A fire upon the shore served as a 
mark to steer by ; and on approaching it at ten o'clock, the anchor 
was let go in 6 fathoms, upqn a bottom of coarse sand and small 
stones ; the weather being fine, and wind moderate off the land. 

The howling of dogs was heard during the night; and at 
Friday 19. daylight the shore was found to be distant two or three miles, and 
was woody, rising land, but not of much elevation. A remarkable 
point, which I named Corny Point, bearing S. 73 W. three miles, 
was the furthest land visible to the westward; its latitude, from 
meridian observations of Jupiter and the moon, is 34,* 5«' south, and 
longitude from the time keepers 137° 6±' east. Between this point 
and Point Pearce, twenty-eight miles to the north-north-east, is a 
large bay, well sheltered from all southern winds, and none others 
seem to blow with much strength here. The land trends eastward 
about seven leagues, from Corny Point to the head of the bay ; but 
what the depth of water may be there, or whether any fresh stream 
fall into it, I am not able to state; the land, however, ^yas better 
wooded, and had a more .fertile appearance than any before seen in 
the neighbourhood. I called this Hardwicke Bay, in honour of the 
noble earl of that title. 

Several observations for the variation of the compass had been 
taken whilst beating in the neighbourhood of Point Pearce. Or^ its 
north side, eight miles from the shore, an amplitude with the ship's 
head S. W. by S. gave 4 38' east ; at E. by N., when fourteen miles 
off, another gave i° 13' east; but azimuths three or four miles 
nearer Jn, o # io' west; and at S. E., when six miles off, o° 35* west- 
On the south side of Point Pearce, the head being S. S. W., and the 

Digitized by 


Speneet** Gulph.} TERRA AUSTRALIS. 166 

land distant thirteen miles, an amplitude gave 3 15' east. These lsofc. 
different observations, which were all taken with the surveying j^^' 9# 
compass, being corrected upon the principles and by the proportion 
explained in the Appendix No. II. to the second volume, will be 
respectively, «° 51', 4 si' furthest from the land, » p 58'; i # 41' 
nearest the land, and a° 1' east. The mean is a° 46* east; which 
may be taken for the true variation at three or four leagues off 
Point Pearce in 1809 ; but close in with the shore, I suspect it was 
less by i°, or perhaps 2 . 

Having remained at anchor until the sun was high enough 
to admit of observations for the time keepers, we got under way 
at half past seven o'clock ; and the coast round Corny Point being 
found to trend S. 27° W., nearly in the wind's eye, I stretched west- 
ward across the gulph towards Thistle's Island, in order to compare 
the time keepers with the longitudes of places before settled. Our 
latitude at noon, observed on both sides, was 34°50 / 10"; Spilsby 
Island, the south-easternmost of Sir Joseph Banks' Group, was seen 
bearing N. 56* W., and the eastern bluffof Wedge Island, the central 
and largest of Gambier's Isles, bore S. i6i° W. Gambier's Isles, 
four in number besides two peaked rocks, had been first seen from 
the high land behind Memory Cove. They lie nearly in the centre 
of the entrance to the gulph ; and the latitude of Wedge Island is 
35 11' south, and longitude 136* 99' east. Soon after four in the 
afternoon, I had the following bearings : 

Wedge Island, highest part, 

Thistle's Island, highest part, 

C. Catastrophe, former station on the S. E. point, 

Stamford Hill, former station at the top, 

Sibsey Island, centre, - 

Stickney Island, - - . - . - 

Spilsby Island, • 

The longitude deduced from these bearings was 30' as" east, from 
the head of Port Lincoln, and that resulting from observations for 

vol. i t 3 B 


»i±° E. 



















Digitized by 


166 A VOYAGE TO [South Coma. 

1862. the time keepers taken in the same place, was 30' 53" ; showing a 
jp^y 19# difference of no more than o' 31" to the east, since quitting the port. 
This quantity in a sea observation is so small and uncertain, that I 
considered the time keepers to have gone correctly from March 4, 
when the last observations in Port Lincoln had been made, up to this 
time; and that the lunar observations taken in the interval might 
be reduced back to the head of the port by their means, and used to 
fix its longitude without any further correction. 

Besides the bearings above given, there was a rocky islet four 
miles distant in the S. 78* W. ; part of a ledge of low rocks which 
extended towards the north end of Thistle's Island, and may possi- 
bly be connected with the rock set from thence. This ledge is 
marked dangerous, in the particular chart. 

Having satisfactorily ascertained the going of the time keepers, 
we tacked and stretched back for the coast on the east side of the 
gulph ; but did not get sight of it before dark. At six on the follow-' 
Saturday so. ing morning, 

Corny Point, dist. 5 or 6 leagues, bore - N. 63^° E. 

A cliffy head, distant 10 miles, - - S. 85 E. 

Furthest extreme, a cliffy point, - S. 21 E. 

Wedge Island, eastern bluff, - - S. 49 W. 

Thistle's Island, highest part, - - West. 

An amplitude taken when the ship's head was south-by-east, gave 
variation i* %g east, and azimuths at south-south-east, i° 10': the 
mean, reduced to the meridian, is a° 13' east, or a few mihutes more 
than had beeh found on the west side of the gulph, and half a degree 
less than off Point Pearce. 

The tide appeared to set us along the shore to the southward, 
although, from what was observed at Thistle's Island, it should have 
been the time of flood. With its assistance, and the wind having 
become less unfavourable, we were enabled to make a course for 
the furthest land. This proved to be a cape, composed of thfee 
cliffy points; near the northern part of which lay a cluster of blade 

Digitized by 


Spencers Gulph] TERRA AUSTRALIS, 167 

rocks. The southernmost cliff bore at noon E. 4£° S. six or seven \em. 
miles, and beyond it there was no main coast visible; but three Saturday so. 
small islands, with several rocks and a reef, were seen to lie as far 
as five miles to the southward, out from the cape. 

Although the continuation of the main coast was not to be 
distinguished beyond the cape, yet there was land in sight at the 
distance of seven or eight leagues, from about south to S. i8y° W. 
Whether this land were an island, or a part of the ttontinent, and the 
wide opening to the eastward a strait, or a new inlet, was uncertain; 
but in either case, the investigation of the gulph was terminated; 
and in honour of the respectable nobleman who presided at the 
Board of Admiralty when the voyage was planned and ship put into 
commission, I named it Spencer's Gulph. The cliffy-pointed cape 
which forms the east. side of the entrance, and lies in 35 18' south 
and 136° $g east, was named Cape Spencer ; arid the three isles 
lying off it, with their rocks, Althorpe Isles. 

A line drawn from the nearest part of Cape Catastrophe to 
Cape Spencer will be forty-eight miles long, and so much is the 
entrance of the gulph in width. Gambier's Isles lie not far from 
the middle of the line ; and if we measure upward from them, the 
gulph will be found, without regard to the small windings, to extend 
one hundred and eighty-five miles into the interior of the country. 
For the general exactness of its form in the chart, I can answer with 
tolerable confidence; having seen all that is laid down, and, as usual, 
taken every angle which enters into the construction. Throughout 
the whole extent of the shores the water line was almost every 
where distinguished; the only exceptions being, small portions at 
the head of Hardwicke and Louth Bays, of a bight near Point Lowly, 
and of the low land at the back of the great Eastern Shoal. 

At noon, when off Cape Spencer, the wind became variable 
and light, with very hazy, cloudy weather; and the mercury in my 
marine barometer had fallen two tenths of an inch. At six in the 
evening a breeze sprung up at west-north- west; and as I expected a 

Digitized by 


168 A VOYAGE TO [SbtrtA Coart. 

1808. £ai e would come on, and that as usual it would veer to the south- 
March. a 
Saturday 20. west, we ceased to follow the coast beyond Cape Spencer, and 

steered for the land seen in the southern quarter. The Althorpe 
Isles were passed at eight o'clock, at the distance of eight or nine 
miles ; and the wind being fresh at west, we made short trips during 
the night between the two lands, not knowing what might be in the 
Sunday si. space to leeward. At daylight the ship was nearly in mid-channel, 
between the southern land and Cape Spencer, and nothing was seen 
to the eastward. It then blew a fresh gale at south-west, with much 
sea running; we stretched south-east under close-reefed topsails, to 
get under the lee of the southern land ; and at eight o'clock, when 
the largest Althorpe Isle bore N. 33° W., it was distant six or seven 
miles to the south, and extended from S. 6i° W. to 79° E., as far as 
the eye could reach. It was rather high, and cliffy; but there was 
nothing by which to judge of its connection with the main. 

At ten o'clock we were close under the land ; and finding the 
water tolerably smooth, had shortened sail with the intention of an- 
choring near a small, sandy beach ; but the situation proving to be 
too much exposed, we steered eastward along the shore under two 
close-reefed top sails and fore sail, the wind blowing strong in squalls 
from the south-west. The furthest land seen a-head at noon, was a 
projecting point, lower than the other cliffs ; it bore E. 7 S., four 
leagues, and lies in 35 33' south, and 137 41' east. It was named 
Point Marsden, in compliment to the second secretary of the Admi- 
ralty ; and beyond it the coast was found to trend southward into 4 
large bay containing three coves, any one of which promised good 
shelter from the gale. This was called Nepean Bay, in compli- 
ment to the first secretary (now sir Evan Nepean, Bart.), and we 
hauled up for it ; but the strength of the wind was such, that a head 
land forming the east side of the bay was fetched with difficulty. 
At six in the evening we came to anchor in 9 fathoms, sandy bot- 
tom, within a mile of the shore ; the east extreme bearing S. 76* E., 
and the land near Point Marsden, on the west side of Nepean Bay, 

Digitized by 


Kangureo Island.-] TERRA AU STRAUS. 169 

N. 61 • W., six leagues. A piece of high land, ' seemingly uncon- isoa. 
nected, bore from N. 45° to 78 E. ; but no land could be distin- Sunday si. 
guished to the northward. 

Neither smokes, nor other marks of inhabitants had as yet 
been perceived upon the southern land, although we had passed along 
seventy miles of its coast. It was too late to go on shore this evening ; 
but every glass in the ship was pointed there, to see what could be 
discovered. Several black lumps, like rocks, were pretended to 
have been seen in motion by some of the young gentlemen, which 
caused the force of their imaginations to be much admired ; next 
morning, however, on going toward the shore, a number of dark- Monday 22. 
brown kanguroos were seen feeding upon a grass plat by the side 
of the wood ; and our landing gave them no disturbance. I had 
with me a double-barrelled gun, fitted with a bayonet, and the gen- 
tlemen my companions had muskets. It would be difficult to guess 
how many kanguroos were seen ; but I killed ten, and the rest of 
of the party made up the number to thirty-one, taken on board in 
the course of the day ; the least of them weighing sixty-nine, and 
the largest one hundred and twenty-five pounds. These kanguroos 
had much resemblance to the large species found in the forest lands 
of New South Wales ; except that their colour was darker, and they 
were not wholly destitute of fat. 

After this butchery, for the poor animals suffered themselves 
to be shot in the eyes with small shot, and in some cases to be 
knocked on the head with sticks, I scrambled with difficulty through 
the brush wood, and over fallen trees, to reach the higher land with 
the surveying instruments ; but the thickness and height of the 
wood prevented any thing else from being distinguished There 
was little doubt, however, that this extensive piece of land was sepa- 
rated from the continent ; for the extraordinary tameness of the 
kanguroos and the presence of seals upon the shore, concurred with 
the absence of all traces of men to show that it was not inhabited, 

The whole ship's company was employed this afternoon, in 

Digitized by 


HO A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

jgjJk skinning and cleaning the kangaroos ; and a delightful regale they 
Monday 22. afforded, after four months privation from almost any fresh provi- 
sions. Half a hundred weight of heads, fore quarters, and tails were 
stewed down into soup for dinner on this and the succeeding days ; 
and as much steaks given, moreover, to both officers and men, 
as they could consume by day and by night. In gratitude for 
so seasonable a supply, I named this southern land Kanguroo 
Tucrfay ss. Next day was employed in shifting the top masts, on ac- 

count of some rents found in the heels. The scientific gentlemen 
landed again to examine the natural productions of the island, and in 
the evening eleven more kanguroos were brought on board ; but 
most of these were smaller, and seemed to be of a different species 
to those of the preceding day. Some of the party saw several large 
running birds, which, according to their description, seemed to have 
been the emu or cassowary. 

Not being able to obtain a distinct view from any elevated situ- 
ation, I took a set of angles from a small projection near the ship, 
named Kanguroo Head; but nothing could be seen to the north ; and 
the sole bearing of importance, more than had been taken on board, 
was that of a high hill at the extremity of the apparently uncon- 
nected land to the eastward : it bore N. $g° 10' E., and was named 
Mount Lofty. The nearest part of that land was a low point, bear- 
ing N. 6o° E. nine or. ten miles ; but the land immediately at the 
back was high, and its horthern and southern extremes were cliffy. 
(Atlas, I named it Cape Jervis, and it was afterwards sketched by Mr* 

HateXVn. w n 

view 18.) vvestan. 

All the cliffs of Kanguroo Island seen to the west of the anchor- 
age, had the appearance of being calcareous, and the loose stones scat- 
tered over the surface of Kanguroo Head and the vicinity were of 
that substance; but the basis in this part seemed to be a brown slate, 
lying in strata nearly horizontal, and lamina of quartz were some- 
times seen in the interstices. In some places the slate was split into 

Digitized by 


Kanguroo Island.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 171 

pieces of a foot long, or more, like iron bars, and had a shining, ore- ***. 
like appearance ; and the strata Were then further from the horizontal 
line than I observed them to be elsewhere. 

- A thick wood covered almost all that part of the island visible 
from the ship ; but the trees in a vegetating state were not equal in 
size to the generality of those lying on the ground, nor to the dead 
trees standing upright. Those on the ground were so abundant, 
that in ascending the higher land, a considerable part of the w&lk 
was made upon them. They lay in all directions, and were nearly 
of the same size and in the same progress towards decay; from 
whence it would seem that they had not fallen from age, nor yet 
been thrown down in a gale of wind. Some general conflagration, 
and there were marks apparently of fire on many of them, is per- 
haps the sole cause which can be reasonably assigned ; but whence 
came the woods on fire ? That there were no inhabitants upon the 
island, and that the natives pf the continent did not visit it, was 
demonstrated, if not by the want of all signs of such visit, yet by the 
tameness of the kanguroo, an animal which, on the continent, resem- 
bles the wild deer in timidity. Perhaps lightning might have been 
the cause, or possibly the friction of two dead trees in a strong wind ; 
but it would be somewhat extraordinary that the same thing should 
have happened at Thistle's Island, Boston Island, and at this place, 
and apparently about the same time. Can this part of Terra Aus- 
tralis have been visited before, unknown to th£ world ? The French 
navigator, La Pc'rouse, was ordered to explore it, but there seems 
little probability that he ever passed Torres* Strait. 

Some judgment may be formed of the epoch when these con- 
flagrations happened, from the magnitude of the growing trees ; for 
they must have sprung, up since that period. They were a species 
of eucalyptus, and being less than the fallen trees, had most probably 
not arrived at maturity ; but the wood is hard and solid, and it may 
thence be supposed to grow slowly. With these considerations, I 
should be inclined to fix the period at not less than ten, nor more 

Digitized by 


172 A VOYAGE TO {South Coad. 

****: than twenty years before our arrival. This brings us back to La 
P^rouse. He was in Botany Bay in the beginning of 1788 ; and if 
he did pass through Torres' Strait, and come round to this coast, as 
was his intention, it would probably be about the middle or latter 
end of that year, or between thirteen and fourteen years before the 
Investigator. My opinion is not favourable to this conjecture ; but 
I have furnished all the data to enable the reader to form his own 
judgment upon the cause which might have prostrated the woods of 
these islands. 

The soil of that part of Kanguroo Island examined by us, was 
judged to be much superior to any before seen, either upon the south 
coast of the continent, or upon the islands near it ; with the excep- 
tion of some portions behind the harbours of King George's Sound. 
The depth of the soil was not particularly ascertained ; but from the 
thickness of the wood it cannot be very shallow. Some sand is 
mixed with the vegetable earth, but not in any great proportion; 
and I thought the soil superior to some of the land cultivated at Port 
Jackson, and to much of that in our stony counties in England. 

Never perhaps had the dominion possessed here by the kan- 
guroo been invaded before this time. The seal shared with it upon 
the shores, but they seemed to dwell amicably together. It not unfre- 
quently happened, that the report of a gun fired at a kanguroo near the 
beach, brought out two or three bellowing seals from under bushes 
considerably further from the water side. The seal, indeed, seemed 
to be much the most discerning animal of the two ; for its actions 
bespoke a knowledge of our not being kanguroos, whereas the kan- 
guroo not unfrequently appeared to consider us to be seals. 

The latitude of the landing place near Kanguroo Head from an 
observation in the artificial horizon, was 35° 43' o /# south; and the /o»- 
gitude of our anchorage by time keepers, 137° 58' 31" east. This last, 
being deduced from observations only four days after the proof had 
of the time keepers having gone correctly since leaving Port Lincoln, 
should be as accurate, or very nearly so, as the longitude of that port 

Digitized by 


Ktmguroo Island.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 178 

The variation observed from two compasses on board, with the isos. 
head south-westward, was <P gi' east ; but when the ship swung to 
a tide coming from east-north-east ; the change in the bearings of 
different objects showed the variation to be about 4 less. The true 
variation I deduce to be 4 13' east ; which is an increase upon what 
was observed on the west side of Cape Spencer, of 2 # ; although the 
distance be no more than twenty-four leagues, and the previous in- 
crease from Cape Catastrophe had been almost nothing. It seems 
probable that the existence of magnetic bodies in the land to the 
north-westward, and perhaps also in Kanguroo Island and Cape 
Jervis, was the cause of this change in the direction of the needle. 

From appearances on the shore,' I judged the rise of tide to 
be about six feet. The flood came from the east-north-east, twice in 
the day, and by the swinging of the ship, ceased at two hours and a 
half after the moon's passage; but the time of high water was after- 
wards found to be later by one hour and a half. 

vol. 1. 3 C 

Digitized by 


174 A VOYAGE TO {South Coast 


Departure from Kanguroo Island. Examination of the main coast, from 
Cape Spencer eastward. The Investigator's Strait. A new gulph 
discovered. Anchorage at, and examination of the head. Remarks on 
the surrounding land. Return down the Gulph. Troubridge Shoal. 
Yorke's Peninsula. Return to Kanguroo Island. Boat expedition to 
Pelican Lagoon . Astronomical observations. Kanguroo Island quitted. 
Buck-stairs Passage. The coast from Cape Jervis, eastward. Meeting, 
and communication with Le Gdographe. Remarks upon the French 
discoveries on the South Coast. 

1902. JVIarch 24 in the morning, we got under way from Kanguroo 
Wtdnes. 24. Island, in order to take up the examination of the main coast at Cape 
Spencer, where it had been quitted in the evening of the 20th, when 
the late gale commenced. The wind had continued to blow fresh 
from the southward ; but had now moderated, and was at south- 
west. We steered north-westward from ten o'clock till six in the 
evening ; and then had sight of land extending from N. 6a° W. to 
a low part terminating at N. 17°E. distant three leagues. A hum- 
mock upon this low part was named Troubridge Hill, and at first it 
makes like an island. Nothing was visible to the eastward of the low 
land ; whence I judged there to be another inlet or a strait between 
it and Cape Jervis. Soon after dusk the wind veered to south-by- 
east, on which we steered south-westward, and continued the same 
Thun.85. course until four in the morning; when the largest Althorpe Isle 
being seen to the north-west, the ship was hove to, with her head 
eastward ; and at daylight, before making sail, the following bear- 
ings were taken of the lands to the northward, but no part of Kan- 
guroo Island was visible. 

Digitized by 


Investigator's Strait.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 175 

Wedge I. (of Gambier's Isles), highest part, - N. 64^° W. isoa. 

Althorpe Isle, largest, distant 6 miles, - N. 83° to 78 W. tJJS^. 

Cape Spencer, south point, ' - - N. 44 W. 

Furthest extreme of the northern land, - N. 44 E. 
The wind fixed itself at south-east, and it took us two days to 
work back against it as far as Troubridge Hill, The sho»e is Saturday 27. 
generally lojv and sandy ; but with the exception of one very low 
point, it may be approached within two miles. Many tacks were 
made in these two days, from the northern land across to Kanguroo 
Island, and gave opportunities of sounding the intermediate strait* 
From 45 fathoms, in the middle of the western entrance, the depth 
diminishes quickly Jo 25, then more slowly to 20 ; after which it 
is irregular between is and so fathoms, as far as the mouth of 
the second inlet. Of the two sides, that of Kanguroo Island 
is much the deepest; but there is no danger in any part to pre- 
vent a ship passing through the strait with perfect confidence ; and 
the average width is twenty-three miles. It was named Investi- 
gator's Strait, after the ship. The bottom is mostly broken shells, 
mixed with sand, gravel, orxoral, and appeared to hold well. 

From two amplitudes taken to the north-north-west of Point 
Marsden, and near the middle of the strait, the variation was i* 49' 
east ; the ship's head being south-south-east in one case, and north- 
east-by-north in the other. The true variation deduced from these, . 
is 3* 20' east; which is i° 7' greater than at Cape Spencer, and o # 53' 
less than at the anchorage near Kanguroo Head 

At noon of the 37th, the eastern wind died away; and we 
dropped a kedge anchor in 15 fathoms, about two miles from Point 
Marsden, where the following observations and bearings were taken. 
Latitude, observed to the north, - 35* 31' 38" 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 137 43 

Kanguroo I., furthest western extreme, - S. 82 W. 
■ Point Marsden, west side, - S. 26 W. 
————— innermost head up Nepean Bay, S. 97 E. 

furthest eastern extreme, - S. $7 £ E. 

Cape Jervis, south extreme, - - S. 73 E. 

Digitized by 


1T« A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1808. No set of tide was observable until three o'clock, when it made 
Saturday sw. g ent ty to *^ e north-east, towards the new inlet; and a breeze 
springing up at south-east soon afterward, we pursued the same 
course, and were well within the entrance at eight o'clock. Fires 
were seen a-head ; but the soundings being regular, and increasing, 
we icept on until midnight ; when the land was seen also, and we 
Sunday 28. stood back for two hours. At daylight I recognised Mount Lofty, 
upon the highest part of the ridge of mountains which, from Cape 
Jervis, extends northward behind the eastern shore of the inlet. 
The nearest part of the coast was distant three leagues, mostly low, 
and composed of sand and rock, with a few small trees scattered 
over it; but at a few miles inland, where the back mountains rise, 
the country was well clothed with forest timber, and had a fertile 
appearance. The fires bespoke this to be a part of the continent. 

Light airs and calms prevailed during the morning, and the 
ship had very little way until noon, when a breeze sprung up at 
south-west. Our situation was then in 

Latitude, observed to the north and south, - 35 4' 13" 
Longitude by time keepers, - - 138 33 

Mount Lofty bore - - - N. 71 E. 

Southern extreme toward Cape Jervis, - S. 17 W. 
Northern extreme, trees above the water, N. 38 E% 
The situation of Mount Lofty was found from hence and from some 
other cross bearings, to be 34, 59' south and 138 4a' east. No 
land was visible so far to the north as where the trees appeared 
above the horizon, which showed the coast to be very low, and our 
soundings were fast decreasing. From noon to six o'clock we ran 
thirty miles to the northward, skirting a sandy shore at the distance 
of five, and thence to eight miles ; the depth was then 5 fathoms, 
and we dropped the anchor upon a bottom of sand, mixed with 
pieces of dead coral. 
Monday 29. In the morning, land was seen to the westward, and also a 

hummocky mountain, capped with clouds, apparently near the head 

Digitized by 


€hdph of St. Vincent.] TERRA AUSTRALIA ITT 

of the inlet. Azimuths with the surveying compass, taken when iso*. 
the ship's head was south-eastward, gave «° *7' east variation; but MoadayM. 
an amplitude taken at the same anchorage on the preceding evening 
when the head was south-by-west, showed 5* «*' east. These cor- 
rected to the meridian, will be severally 4 43' and 4 44' east ; or 
half a degree more than was observed near Kanguroo Head. The 
observations at this anchorage and the bearings taken were as 
follow : 

Latitude observed from the moon, - 34° 36' S. 

Longitude by time keepers, - ' - 138 18 E. 

Mount Lofty, - S. 41^ E. 

Nearest shore, distant 7 miles, - ■> N. E. to N. 

Hummock mount, highest top, - N. iSj W. 

Western land, furthest extremes, N. 51* to S. 65 W. 
There being almost no wind in the morning, we remained at 
anchor until nine o'clock, to set up afresh the rigging of the new 
top masts ; and I took a boat to sound upon a rippling near the ship, 
but found the same depth of 5 fathoms. Very little progress was 
made until noon ; at which time shoal water obliged us to steer 
westward. At three, the soundings had increased from 3 j to 10 
fathoms, which was the deepest water to be found ; for it became 
shallower on approaching the western shore. After steering various 
northwardly courses, we anchored at sunset in 5 fathoms, sand, 
shells, and broken coral ; the shores then appeared to close round, 
at the distance of seven or eight miles ; and the absence of tide gave 
no prospect of finding any river at the head of the inlet. 

According to lieutenant Flinders' observations, the situation of Tuetdayso, 
the anchorage was in 

Latitude, ... 34°i6'30" 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 138 6 
Mount Lofty, dist. 17 leagues, bore, - S. 35 E. 
Hummock Mount, highest part, - N. 5 E. 
A low sandy point, dist. 3 or 4 miles, N. 6g E. 
A low point covered with mangroves, N. 53 W f 

Digitized by 


178 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

i8ot. The variation from an amplitude, observed when the ship's 

Tuesday so. head was south-eastward, was «° 50' east ; but the compass being 

upon a stand out of its usual place, I cannot deduce the true variation, 

but took it to be 4 40' east, nearly as found at the preceding 


Early in the morning, I went in a boat, accompanied by the 
naturalist, to examine more closely the head of the gulph. We 
carried from 4 to 3 fathoms water four miles above the ship, when 
it shoaled to fifteen and eight feet, which brought us to mud flats, 
nearly dry ; but by means of a small channel amongst them we got 
within half a mile of the shore, and walked to it upon a bank of mud 
and sand. 

It was then ten o'clock, and the tide was out; so that I judged 
the time of high water to be about seven hours after the moon's passage, 
or three hours later than at Kanguroo Island ; and the ordinary rise 
appeared to be six or eight feet. An observation of the sun's 
meridian altitude from the artificial horizon, showed the landing 
place to be in latitude 34* 8' 52", and the uppermost water might be 
30" less; whence the extent of this , inlet, from Cape Jervis on the 
east side of the entrance, is i # 30' of latitude. 

Microscopic shells of various kinds, not larger than grains of 
wheat, were heaped up in ridges at high-water mark ; further back 
the shore was sandy, but soon rose, in an undulating man- 
ner, to hills covered with grass ; and the several clumps of trees 
scattered over them gave the land a pleasing appearance from the 
water side. We set off in the afternoon for the Hummock 
Mount, which stands upon a northern prolongation of the hills on 
the west side of the inlet, and about eight miles from the water; but 
finding it could not be reached in time to admit of returning on 
board the same evening, I ascended a nearer part of the range, to 
inspect the head of the inlet. It was almost wholly occupied by 
flats, which seemed to be sandy in the eastern part and muddy to 
the westward. These flats abounded with rays ; and had we been 

Digitized by 


Gulph of St. Vincent] TERRA AUSTRALIA 179 

provided with a harpoon, a boat load might have been caught. One 18W - 
black swan and several shags and gulls were seen. Tuesday 30. 

I found the grass upon these pleasant-looking hills to be thinly 
set, the trees small, and the land poor in vegetable soil. The moun- 
tainous ridge on the east side of the inlet passes within a few miles 
of Hummock Mount, and appeared to be more sandy ; but the wood 
upon* it was abundant, and of a larger growth. Between the two 
ranges is a broad valley, swampy at the bottom ; and into it the 
water runs down from both sides in rainy weather, and is discharged 
into the gulph, which may be considered as the lower and wider part 
of the valley. 

This eastern ridge is the same which rises at Cape Jervis ; 
from whence it extends northward towards Barn Hill and the ridge 
of mountains on the east side of Spencer's Gulph. If it join that ridge, 
as I strongly suspect, its length, taking it only from Cape Jervis to 
Mount Arden, will be more than seventy leagues in a straight line. 
There are some considerable elevations on the southern part ; Mount 
Lofty is one of them, and its height appeared nearly equal to that of 
Mount Brown to the north, or about three thousand feet. Another 
lies six or seven miles to the north-by-east of the Hummock Mount, 
near the head of this inlet ; and seems to have been the hill set from 
Spencer's Gulph, at the anchorage of March 14, in the evening, 
when it was distant ten or eleven leagues and appeared above the 
lower range in front of Barn Hill. 

From my station on the western hills of the new inlet, across 
to Spencer's Gulph, the distance was not more than thirty miles ; 
but as I did not ascend the highest part of the range, the water to 
the westward could not be seen. Had the Hummock Mount been 
within my reach, its elevation of near fifteen hundred feet would 
probably have afforded an extensive view, both across the penin- 
sula, and of the country to the northward. 

In honour of the noble admiral who presided at the Board of 
Admiralty when I sailed from England, and had continued to the 

Digitized by 


180 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

law. voyage that countenance and protection of which Earl Spencer had 
Tuesday so. set the example, I named this new inlet, the Gulph of St. Vincent. 
To the peninsula which separates it from Spencer's Gulph, I have 
affixed the name of Yorke's Peninsula, in honour of the Right 
Honourable Charles Philip Yorke, who followed the steps of his 
above mentioned predecessors at the Admiralty. 
Wednef.3i. On the 31st at daylight we got under way to proceed down 

the gulph, and having followed the eastern shore in going up, I 
wished to' trace the coast of the peninsula in returning ; but the wind 
being nearly at south, it could only be done partially. At two in 
the afternoon, we tacked in 3 fathoms from the eastern shoals, and 
at sunset, in the same depth one mile from the western side ; our 
distance from the head of the gulph being then about ten leagues, 
and the furthest land of the peninsula bearing S. 3 E. The western 
hills come down nearly to the water side here, and have the same 
pleasant appearance as at the head of the gulph, being grassy, 
with clumps of wood scattered over them ; the coast line is some- 
what cliffy, and not so low as the eastern shore. 
April. During the night the wind veered round to east, and at 

Thurs. 1. three in the morning to north-east ; and a fire being seen on the 
eastern shore, the fore top sail was laid to the mast. At daybreak 
we made sail west, for the land of the peninsula ; and at half past 
nine it was less than five miles distant, being very low and sandy.. 
The northern extreme then in sight appeared to be the same land 
set in the evening at S. 3? E. ; the other extreme was not far from 
Troubridge Hill, on the west side of the entrance to the gulph ; and 
near it was an extensive bank, part of it dry, which I called TVok- 
bridge Shoal. The bearings taken at this time were, 

Northern extreme of the west shore, - N. 2 E. 

Southern extreme, distant 7 miles, - - S. 42 W. 

Troubridge Shoal, dry part, - S. i3° 9 E. 

Cape Jervis, S. extreme of high land, S. 18 E. 

Mount Lofty, - N. 8,5 E". 

Digitized by 


Oulph of St. Vincent.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 181 

We now hauled the wind to the south-east, and weathered the wjj 
dry part of TYoubridge Shoal; but passed amongst several patches Thundayi. 
of discoloured water in soundings from 4 to 3^ fathoms. At rtoon, 
when our latitude observed on both sides was 35 9' 38" and longi- 
tude by time keepers 13d 4^', the shoal was distant three leagues 
to the west-north-west; Cape Jervis bore S. ia°, and Mount Lofty 

Our examination of thegulph of St, Vincent was nowfinished ; 
and the country round it had appeared to be generally superior to 
that on the borders of Spencer's Guiph. Yorke's Peninsula between 
them, is singular in its form, bearing some resemblance to a very 
ill-shaped leg and foot. The length of the southern part, from Cape 
Spencer to the sandy point near Troubridge Shoal, is about forty- 
five miles ; and from thence northward, to where the peninsula 
joins the main land, about sixty miles. Its least breadth is from the 
head of Hardwicke Bay to the Investigates Strait, where it appears 
to be not more than three leagues. 

Having now made myself acquainted with the shores of the 
continent up to Cape Jervis, it remained to pursue the discovery 
further eastward ; but I wished to ascertain previously, whether 
any error had crept into the time keepers rates since leaving Kan- 
guroo Island, and also to procure there a few more fresh meals for 
my ship's company. Our course was in consequence directed for 
the island, which was visible from aloft ; but the winds being very 
feeble, we did not pass Kanguroo Head until eleven at night. I pur- 
posed to have run up into the eastern cove of Nepean Bay ; but 
finding the water to shoal from 12 to 7 fathoms, did not think it 
safe to go further in the dark ; and therefore dropped the anchor 
about three-quarters of a mile from the shore, and two miles to the 
south-west-by-west of our former anchorage. 

Early on the following morning a party was sent to shoot Friday t. 
kanguroos, another to cut wood, and the naturalists went to pursue 
their researches. The observations taken by lieutenant Flinders, 
vol. i. 3D 

Digitized by 


I8B A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

i*os. compared with those of March 24th, showed the time keepers to have 
Friday's. «red 9! to" of longitude to the west, in the nine days we had been 
absent ; and they had not, consequently, lost quite so much upon a 
medium as the Port-Lincoln rates supposed. This small error, 
which principally affected the Gulph of St. Vincent, has been cor*- 
rected in the longitudes there specified and in the chart, by an equal 

The kanguroos were found to be less numerous than at the 
first anchoring place, and they had become shy; so that very 
few were killed. Those few being brought off, with a boat load of 
Saturdays, wood, we got under way at daylight next morning, to prosecute the 
examination of the <x>ast beyond Cape Jervis ; but the time keepers 
had stopped, from having been neglected to be wound up on the 
preceding day. We therefore came to an anchor again ; and as 
some time would be required to fix new rates, the ship was moored 
so soon as the flood tide made. I landed immediately, to commence 
the necessary observations, and a party was established on shore, 
abreast of the ship, to cut more wood for the holds. lieutenant 
Fowler was sent in the launch to the eastward, with a shooting 
party and such of the scientific gentlemen as chose to accompany 
him ; and there being skins wanted for the service of the rigging, 
he was directed to kill some seals. 
Sunday 4* On the 4th, I was accompanied by the naturalist in a boat ex- 

pedition to the head of the large eastern cove of Nepean Bay ; in- 
tending if possible to ascend a sandy eminence behind it, from which 
alone there was any hope of obtaining a view into the interior erf the 
island, all the other hills being thickly covered with wood. On ap- 
proaching the south-west corner of the cove, a small opening was 
found leading into a considerable piece of water; and by one of its 
branches we reached within little more than a mile of the desired 
sandy eminence. After I had observed the latitude 35° 50' a" 
from an artificial horizon, we got through the wood without much 
difficulty ; and at one o'clock reached the top of the eminence, 

Digitized by 


Kangwoo Itland.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 183 

to which" was given the name of Prospect Hill. Instead of a 180 ?- 
view into the interior of the island, I was surprised to find the sea at Sunday 4. 
not more than one and a half, or two miles to the southward. Two 
points of the coast towards the east end of the island, bore S. 77° E., 
and the furthest part on the other side, a low point with breakers 
round it, bore S. 33° W., at .the supposed distance of four or five 
leagues. Between these extremes a large bight in the south coast 
was formed ;^ but it is entirely exposed to southern winds, and the 
shores are mostly cliffy. Mount Lofty on the east side of the Gulph 
of St. Vincent, was visible from Prospect Hill at the distance of sixty- 
nine miles ; and bore N. 40 6 40' E. 

The entrance of the piece of water at the head of Nepean Bay, 
is less than half a mile in ' width, and mostly shallow ; but there is 
a channel sufficiently deep for all boats near the western shore. 
After turning two low islets near the east point, the water opens out, 
becomes deeper, and divides into two branches, each of two or three 
miles long. Boats can go to the head of the southern branch only 
at high water ; the east branch appeared to be accessible at all times ; 
but as a lead and line were neglected to be put into the boat, I had 
no opportunity of sounding. There are four small islands in the 
eastern branch ; one of them is moderately high and woody, the 
others are grassy and lower ; and upon two of these we found 
many young pelicans, unable to fly. Flocks of the old birds were sit- 
ting upon the beaches of the lagoon, and it appeared that the islands 
were their breeding places ; not only so, but from the number of 
skeletons and, bones there scattered, it should seem that they had 
for ages been selected for the closing scene of their existence. 
Certainly none more likely to be free from disturbance of every kind 
could have been chosen, than these islets in a hidden lagoon of an 
uninhabited island, situate upon an unknown coast near the antipodes 
of Europe ; nor can any thing be more consonant to the feeliijgs, if 
pelicans have any, than quietly to resign their breath, whilst surrounded 
by their progeny, and in the same spot where they first drew it. 

Digitized by 


184 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

isos. Alas, for the pelicans ! Their golden age is past ; but it has much 
Sunday 4. exceeded in duration that of man. 

I named this piece of water Pelican Lagoon. It is also fre^- 
quented by flocks of the pied shag, and by some ducks and gulls ; 
and the shoals supplied us with a few oysters. The surrounding 
country is almost every where thickly covered with brush wood; 
and the soil appeared to be generally of a good quality, though not 
deep. Prospect Hilland the parts around it are more sandy; and 
there seemed to be swamps at the head of both branches of the 
lagoon. The isthmus which separates the southern branch from the 
sea, is low ; but rises gradually up the cliffs of the coast. 

Not being able to return on board the same night, we slept 
near the entrance of the lagoon. It was high water by the shore, 
Monday s. on the morning of the 5th, at six o'clock ; but on comparing this 
with the swinging of the ship, it appeared that the tide had then been 
running more than an hour from the westward. The rise in the 
lagoon seemed to be from four to eight feet. 

A few kanguroos had been obtained during my absence, as 
also some seal skins ; but one of the sailors having attacked a large 
seal incautiously, received a very severe bite in the leg, and was 
laid up. After all the researches now made in the island, it appeared 
that the kanguroos were much more numerous at our first landing 
place, near Kanguroo Head, than elsewhere in the neighbourhood. 
That part of the island was clearer of wood than most others ; and 
there were some small grass plats which seemed to be particularly 
attractive, and were kept very bare. Not less than thirty emus or 
cassowaries were seen at different times ; but it so happened that 
they were fired at only once, and that ineffectually. They were 
most commonly found near the longest of the small beaches to the 
eastward of Kanguroo Head, at the place represented in the annexed 
platej where some little drainings of water oozed from the rocks. 
It is possible, that with much time and labour employed in digging, 
water might be procured there to supply a ship ; and I am sorry to 

Digitized by 


Kangwoo Island.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 186 

say, that it was the sole place found by us where the hope of pro- isos. 
curing fresh water could be entertained. MoiSiays. 

Having received on board a good stock of wood, the launch 
was hoisted in, and every thing prepared for going to sea. Next 
morning, so soon as the sun was sufficiently elevated to be observed Tuesday 5. 
in the artificial horizon, I landed to take the last set of observations 
for the time keepers ; after which the anchor was weighed, and we 
steered out of Nepean Bay with a light breeze from the south-west 
Towards noon it fell calm, and finding by the land that the ship was 
set westward, an anchor was dropped nearly in our first place off 
Kanguroo Head; and Mr. Westall took the sketch given in the (Atlas, 

AJ Hate XVII. 

Atlas. View 11.) 

The rates of the time keepers were obtained, for the sake of 
expedition, from single altitudes of the sun's upper and lower limbs, 
taken from a quicksilver horizon with a sextant fixed on a stand; 
the time being noted from Arnold's watch, compared with Earn- 
shaw's time keepers before going on shore and immediately after 
returning. From the altitudes of the 3rd, 4th, and 6th, in the morn- 
ing, the rates of the two time keepers and their errors from mean 
Greenwich time, reduced to noon there on the last day, were as 
Earnshaw's No. 543, fast o h o # 1 8^,03 and losing 8",46 per day. 
No. 520, slow o 45 29,56 - - - 18,07 
In deducing these errors, the longitude given by the time 
keepiers on our first arrival from Spencer's Gulph, which I consider 
to be equally good with that -of Port Lincoln, was used, with a cor- 
rection of — i' 20" for the change of place. The medium of the Port- 
Lincoln rates was something greater than that now found ; which 
corresponded with the time keepers having given the longitude of 
Kanguroo Head less on the second than on the first arrival. This 
was some proof that the letting down had not affected the rates, and 
tended to give me confidence in their accuracy. 

Digitized by 


186 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. The variation observed on shore, with the theodolite, was 5* 48' east. 
TutSay 6. D°- w ^ azimuth compass, No. I. - a 58 

For this difference between the instruments, I find it difficult to 
account satisfactorily ; but it is the same way, and nearly similar in 
quantity to what was observed in Lucky Bay. The true variation 
on board the ship, deduced from azimuths "taken at anchor two miles 
to the north-east, and using the compasses No. 1 and 2, was as before 
mentioned, 4* 13', nearly the mean of the above; but the bearings 
taken with the theodolite at Kanguroo Head and Prospect Hill 
showed only 2±* east, as compared with the bearings on board the 
ship. There can be little doubt of the existence of magnetic sub- 
stances in the lands about here, more particularly, as I think, in 
Yorke's Peninsula ; and there will presently be occasion to notice 
more instances of their effect. 

The approach of the winter season, and an apprehension that 
the discovery of the remaining unknown part of the South Coast 
might not be completed before a want of provisions would make it 
necessary to run for Port Jackson, prevented me from stopping a day 
longer at Kanguroo Island than was necessary to obtaining rates for 
the time keepers; and consequently, from examining the south and 
west parts of that island. The direction of the main coast and the inlets 
it might form, were the most important points to be now ascertained ; 
and the details of particular parts, which it would interfere too much 
with those objects to examine, were best referred to the second visit, 
directed by my instructions to be made to this coast. When, there- 
fore, the rising of a breeze made it advisable to get under way from 
Kanguroo Head, which was not until two in the afternoon, we pro- 
ceeded for the eastern outlet of the Investigator's Strait; in order to 
prosecute the discovery beyond Cape Jervis. 

The wind was at south-east ; and the tide being against us, 
but little progress was made until the evening, when it became favour- 
able. Our soundings were irregular, and some rocky islets being 

Digitized by 


Kanguroo Island.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 187 

seen without side of the opening, I stood in at nine o'clock, to look isos. 

for anchorage at the east end of Kanguroo Island ; and finding no Tuesday 0. 

shelter there, we ran a little to leeward into a small bay which I had 

observed before dark, and anchored at half past ten, in 4j fathoms, 

on a bottom of hard sand. At daylight, the following bearings were Wednesd. r. 


East point of the little bay, dist. i£ mile, T East. 

West point, distant three miles, - N. 38* W. 

Cape Jervis, inner low point, - N. 3 W. 

Eastern extreme of the coast, - N. 65 E. 

The bay is perfectly sheltered from all southern winds; and as there , 
were several spots clear of wood near the beach, it is probable that 
the kanguroos, and perhaps cassowaries, might be numerous. We 
did not stop to land, but got under way so ^oon as the bearings 
were taken, to beat out of the strait against the south-east wind ; so 
little was gained, however, after working all the day, that at eight 
in the evening the ship was still off the east end of Kanguroo Island. 
This part of the Investigator's Strait is not more, in the nar- 
rowest part, than seven miles across. It forms a private entrance, 
as it were, to the two gulphs ; and I named it Backstairs Passage. 
The small bay where we had anchored, is called the Ante-chamber; 
and the cape which forms the eastern head of the bay and of Kan- 
guroo Island, and lies in 35* 48' south and 138* 13' east, received 
the appellation of Cape Willoughby. Without side of the passage, 
and almost equidistant from both shores, there are three small, rocky 
islets near together, called the Pages, whose situation is in latitude 
35 4<Jj south, and longitude 138° si' east; these are the sole 
dangers in Back-stairs Passage, and two of them are conspicuous. 
Our soundings in beating through, were from 8 to 23 fathoms; and 
in a strong rippling of tide like breakers, there was from 10 to 12, 
upon a bottom of stones and shells. 

At eight in the evening we tacked from Cape Willoughby ; 
and having passed to windward of the Pages, stretched on east and 

Digitized by 


188 A VOYAGE TO {South Coast 

1808. north-eastward until four in the morning. Land was then seen 
Thursday 8. under the lee, and a tack made offshore, till daylight, when we stood 
in with the wind at east -south-east. At nine, the land was distant 
five miles, and of a very different aspect to that of Cape Jervis. As 
far as six leagues from the cliffy southern extremity of the cape, 
the land is high, rocky, and much cut by gullies or ravines ; a short, 
scrubby brush-wood covers the seaward side, and the stone appeared 
to be slaty, like the opposite cliffs of Kanguroo Island. But here 
the hills fall back from the sea, and the shore becomes very low with 
some hummocks of sand upon it ; and the same description of coast 
prevailed as far as could be seen to the eastward. 

Our situation at nine o'clock, when we tacked to the south, 
was as follows ; 

Longitude by time keepers, - 138* 47^ 

Cape Jervis, two southern parts, bore - S. 84 W. 

A round hummock, - - - N. 85 W. 

A rocky islet, under the land, - - N. 62 W. 

Furthest visible part of the sandy coast, % S. 87 E. 
Before two in the afternoon we stretched eastward again ; and 
at four, a white rock was reported from aloft to be seen a-head. On 
approaching nearer, it proved to be a ship standing towards us ; and 
we cleared for action, in case of being attacked. The stranger was 
a heavy-looking ship, without any top-gallant masts up ; and our 
colours being hoisted, she showed a French ensign, and afterwards 
an English jack forward, as we did a white flag. At half past five, 
the land being then five miles cfotant to the north-eastward, I hove 
to ; and learned, as the stranger passed to leeward with a free wind, 
that it was the French national ship Le Gcographe, under the com- 
mand of captain Nicolas Baudin. We veered round as Le Gco- 
graphe was passing, so as to keep our broadside to her, lest the flag 
of truce should be a deception ; and having come to the wind on the 
Other tack, a boat was hoisted out, and I went on board the French 
phjp, which had also hove to. 

Digitized by 


Encounter Bay.] TERRA AUSTRALIA. 18fr 

As I did not understand French, Mr. Brown, the naturalist, !«*• 


went with me in the boat. We were received by an officer who Thursday 8. 
pointed out the Commander, and by him were conducted into the 
cabin. I requested captain Baudin to show me his passport from 
the Admiralty; and when it was found and I had perused it, offered 
mine from the French marine minister, but he put it back without 
inspection. He then informed me that he had spent some time in 
examining the south and east parts of Van Diemen's Land, where 
his geographical engineer, with the largest boat and a boat's crew, 
had been left, and probably lost In Bass' Strait captain Baudin had 
encountered a heavy gale, the same we had experienced in a less 
degree t>n March si, in the Investigator's Strait. He was then separ- 
ated from his consort, Le Naturaliste ; but having since had fair winds 
and fine weather, he had explored the South Coast from Western 
Port to the place of our meeting, without finding any river, inlet, 
or other shelter which afforded anchorage. I inquired concerning a 
large island, said to lie in the western entrance of Bass' Strait ; but 
he had not seen it, and seemed to doubt much of its existence. 

Captain Baudin was communicative of his discoveries about 
Van Diemen's Land ; as also of his criticisms upon an English chart of 
Bass' Strait, published in 1800. He found great fault with the north 
side of the strait, but commended the form given to the south side 
and to the islands near it. On my pointing out a note upon the chart, 
explaining that the north side of the strait was seen only in an open 
boat by Mr. Bass, who had no good means of fixing either latitude or 
longitude, he appeared surprised, not having before paid attention to 
it. I told him that some other, and more particular charts of the 
Strait and its neighbourhood had been since published ; and that if 
he would keep company until next morning, I would bring him a 
copy, with a small memoix* belonging to them. This was agreed to, 
and I returned with Mr. Brown to the Investigator. 

It somewhat surprised me, that captain Baudin made no enquiries 
concerning my business upon this unknown coast, but as he seemed 
vol. 1. 3 E 

Digitized by 


190 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

1802. more desirous of communicating information, I was happy to receive 
Friday 9. it ; next morning, however, he had become inquisitive, some of his 
officers having learned from my boat's crew that our object was 
also discovery. I then told him, generally, what our operations had 
been, particularly in the two gulphs, and the latitude to which I had 
ascended in the largest ; explained the situation of Port Lincoln, 
where fresh water might be procured ; showed him Cape Jervis, 
which was still in sight ; and as a proof of the refreshments to be ob- 
tained at the large island opposite to it, pointed out the kanguroo- 
skin caps worn by my boat's crew ; and told him the name I had 
affixed to the island in consequence. At parting, the captain requested 
me to take care of his boat and people, in case of meeting with them ; 
and to say to Le Naturaliste, that he should go to Port Jackson so 
soon as the bad' weather set in. On my asking the name of the captain 
of Le Naturaliste, he bethought himself to ask mine ; and finding it 
to be the same as the author of the chart which he had been criticis- 
ing, expressed not a little surprise ; but had the politeness to con- 
gratulate himself on meeting me. 

The situation of the Investigator, when I hove to for the pur- 
pose of speaking captain Baudin, was 35* 40' south, and 138* 58' 
east. No person was present at our conversations except Mr. Brown ; 
and they were mostly carried on in English, which the captain spoke 
so as to be understood. He gave me, besides what is related above, 
some information of his losses in men, separations from his consort, 
and of the improper season at which he was directed to explore this 
coast; as also a memorandum of some rocks he had met with, lying 
two leagues from the shore, in latitude 37 1', and he spoke of them 
as being very dangerous. 

I have been the more particular in detailing all that passed at 
this interview, from a circumstance which it seems proper to explain 
and discuss in this place. 

At the above situation of 35 40' south, and 138° 58' east, the 
discoveries made by captain Baudin upon the South Coast have their 

Digitized by 


Encounter Bay.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 191 

termination to the west ; as mine in the Investigator have to the isob. 
eastward. Yet Mons. Peron, naturalist in the French expedition, Friday 9. 
has laid a claim for his nation to the discovery of all the parts be-> 
tween Western Port in Bass' Strait, and Nuyts' Archipelago ; and this 
part of New South Wales is called Terre Napoleon. My Kanguroo 
Island, a name which they openly adopted in the expedition, has 
been converted at Paris into L'Isle Decre's ; Spencer's Gulph is named 
Golfe Bonaparte; the Gulph of St. Vincent, Golfe Josephine; and so 
on, along the whole coast to Cape Nuyts, not even the smallest 
island being left without some similar stamp of French discovery.* 

* The most remarkable passages on the subject are the following, under the title of 

Terre Napotion. 
« De ce grand espace (the south coast of Terra Australis), la partie seule qui du 
" Cap Leuwen s'Etend aux lies St. Pierre et St. Francois, 4toi% connue lors de notre d£~ 
" part d'Europe. D£couverte "par les Hollandois en 1627, die avoit &\&, dans ces der- 
" niers temps, visit^e par Vancouver et surtout par Dbntrbcastbaux ; mais ce der- 
" nier navigateur n'ayant pu lui-m£me s'avancerau-deUi des lies St. Pierre et St. Francois, 
* s qui forment la limite orientale de la terre de Nuyts, et les Anglois n'ayant pas ported 
" vers le Sud leurs recherches plus loin que le port Western, il en resultoit que toute la 
" portion comprise entre ce dernier point et la terre de Nuyts &oit encore inconnue au 
" moment oik nous arrivions sur ces rivages." p. Slfe. That is on March 30, 1802. 
M. Peron should have said, not that the south coast from Western Port to Nuyts' Land 
was then unknown ; but that it was unknown to them ; for captain Grant of the Lady 
Nelson had discovered the eastern part, from Western Port to the longitude 140J , in the 
year 1800, before the French ships sailed from Europe ; and pn the west I had explored 
the coast and islands from Nuyts 1 Land to Cape Jervis in 138° 10', and was, on the day 
specified, at the head of the Gulph of St. Vincent. 

" Dans ce moment, le capitaine Anglois nous h£la, en nous demandant si nous nations 
" pas Tun des deux vaisseaux partis de France pour faire des d£couvertes dans rh£misph£re 
" Austral. Sur notre r£ponse affirmative, il fit aussitot mettre une embarcation a la mer, 
" etpeu d'instans apres nous le resumes h bord. Nous apprtmes que c'&oit le capitaine 
" Fundbrs, celui-l& m£me qui avoit d£ja fait la circonnavigation de la terre de Dtemen; 
. " que son navire se nommoit the Investigator ; que, parti d'Europe depuis huit mob dans 
« le dessein de completer la reconnoissance de la Nouvelle Hollande et des archipels du 
" grand Oc&n Equatorial, il se trouvoit, depuis environs trois mois, k la terre de Nuyts ; 
" que, contrarte par les vents, il n 'avoit pu p£n£trer, comme il en avoit eu le projet, der- 

Digitized by 


1«2 A VOYAGE TO [&nrfft Coa$t. 

180 ^l * tls Sa ^ ^y ^ Peron, and upon my authority too, that the Inves- 
Fiiday 9. tigator had not been able to penetrate behind the Isles of St. Peter 
and St. Francis; and though he doth not say directly, that no part 
of the before unknown coast was discovered by me, yet the whole 
tenor of his Chap. XV induces the reader to believe that I had done 
nothing which could interfere with the prior claim of the French. 

Yet M. Peron was present afterwards at Port Jackson, when I 
showed one of my charts of this coast to captain Baudin, and pointed 
out the limits of his discovery ; and so far from any prior title being 
set up at that time to Kanguroo Island and the parts westward, the 
officers of the G6ographe always spoke of them as belonging to the 
Investigator. The first lieutenant, Mons. Freycinet, even made use 
of the following odd expression, addressing himself to me in the 
house of governor King, and in the presence of one of his compa- 

" rtere les lies St. Pierre et St. Francois ; que, lors de son depart d'Angleterre," &c. 
p. 324, 325. 

" En nous fouraissant tons ces details, M. Flinders se montra d'une grande reserve 
" sur -ses operations particuli&res. Nous apprlmes toutefois par quelques-uns de ses 
" matelots, qu'il avoit eu beaucoup & souffrir de ces m&mes vents de la partie du Sud qui 
" nous avoient M si favorables, et ce fut alors sur-tout que nous pumes appr6cier davan- 
(C tage toute la sagesse de nos propres instructions. Apr&s avoir convert plus d'une heure 
" avec nous" (no person except Mr. Brown was present at my conversation with cap- 
" tain Baudin, as I have already eaid), le capitaine Flinders repartit pour son bor<{, 
« promettant de revenir le lendemain matin nous apporter une carte particultere de la 
<* riviere Dalrymple> qu'il venait de publier en Angleterre. II revint en effet, le 9 avril, 
" nous la remettre, et bientdt aprfes nous le quittftme9 pour reprendre la suite de nos tra- 
" vaux gtographiques." p. 325. 

" L/lle principale de ce dernier groupe" (their Archipel Berthier) " se dessine sous la 
" forme d'un immense hama§on." (Thistle's Island seems to be here meant.) " Ind£- 
" pendamment de toutes ces lies, il en existe encore plus de vingt autres diss6min£es 
" aux environs de la pointe occidentale du golfe et en dehors de son entree : chacune 
<< d'elles fut d£sign£e par un de ces noms honorables dont notre patrie s'enorgueillit k 
" juste titre." p. 327. 

Voyage de Dicouverte aux Terres Australes, r6dig£ par M. F. Peron, 
Naturaliste de l'expiditioD, Sfc. Paris, 1807. 

Digitized by 


Encounter Bay.} TERRA AUSTRALIA 193 

iiions, I think Mons. Bonnefoy, " Captain, if we had not been kept j*™* 
" so long picking up shells and catching butterflies at Van Diemen's Friday 9. 
" Land, you would not have discovered the South Coast before us/' 

The English officers and respectable inhabitants then at Port 
Jackson, can say if the prior discovery of these parts were not gene- 
rally acknowledged ; nay, I appeal to the French officers themselves, 
generally and individually, if such were not the case. 'How then 
came M. Peron to advance what was so contrary to truth ? Was he 
a man destitute of all principle ? My answer is, that I believe his 
candour to have been equal to his acknowledged abilities ; and that 
what he wrote was from over-ruling authority, and smote him to 
the heart : he did not live to finish the second volume. 

The motive for this aggression I do not pretend to explain. It 
may have originated in the desire to rival the British nation in the 
honour of completing the discovery of the globe ; or be intended as 
the fore runner of a claim to the possession of the countries so said 
to have been first discovered by French navigators. Whatever may 
have been the object in view, the question, so far as I am concerned, 
must be left to the judgment of the world ; and if succeeding French 
writers can see and admit the claims of other navigators, as clearly 
and readily as a late most able man of that nation* has pointed out 
their own in some other instances, I shall not fear to leave it even 
to their decision. 

* M. Db Flburibu. 

Digitized by 


194 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 


Examination of the coast resumed. Encounter Bay. The capes Ber-* 
' nouilli and Jaffa. Baudin's Rocks. Differences in the bearings on 
tacking. Cape Buffon, the eastern limit of the French discovery. The 
capes Northumberland and Bridgerbater of captain Grant. Danger 
from a south-west gale. King's Island, in Bass' Strait : anchorage 
there. Some account of the island. Nautical observations. New 
Tear's Isles. Cape Otway, and the north-west entrance to Bass' Strait. 
Anchorage in, and examination of Port Phillip. The country and 
inhabitants. Nautical observations. 

1802. I returned with Mr. Brown on board the Investigator at half past 
PWdays. ^g* 11 m ^ e morning, and we then separated from Le G6ographe ; 
captain Baudin's course being directed to the north-west, and ours 
to the southward. We had lost ground during the night, and the wind 
was very feeble at east, so that the French ship was in sight at noon, 
and our situation was as follows : 

Latitude observed, - - * 35 44' 

Longitude by time keepers, - - 138 53 

Cape Jervis bore N. 8a~W. 

Hummock at the east end of the high land, N. 4j E. 

Nearest sandy hillock, dist. 3 or 4 leagues, N. 65 E. 

At the place where we tacked from the shore on the morning 

of the 8th, the high land of Cape Jervis had retreated from the 

water side, the coast was become low and sandy, and its trending 

was north-east; but after running four or five leagues in that 

direction, it curved round to the south-eastward, and thus formed a 

large bight or bay. The head of this bay was probably seen by 

Digitized by 


Encounter Bay.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 193 

captain Baudin in the afternoon; and in consequence of our meeting 1802. 
here, I distinguish it by the name of Encounter Bay. The sue- priJiay 9# 
ceeding part of the coast having been first discovered by the French 
navigator, I shall make use of the names in describing it which he, 
or his countrymen have thought proper to apply ; that is, so far as 
the volume published enables me to make them out; but this volume 
being unaccompanied with charts, and containing few latitudes and 
longitudes by which the capes and bays can be identified, I must be 
excused should any errors be committed in the nomenclature. 

There was no wind, from noon to two o'clock ; and it appeared 
by the lead that the ship wis drifted to the west-north-west, pro- 
bably by a flood tide. On a breeze springing up from the south- 
ward, we stretched in for the shore ; and at six in the evening it was 
four miles distant, being sandy and generally very low ; but there 
were several hillocks upon it high enough to be seen four or five 
leagues from a ship's deck, and one of them, more bluff than the 
rest, and nearly destitute of vegetation, bore N. 17 E. Next day at Saturday 10. 
noon our situation was within three miles of the land, but very 
little advanced beyond that of the preceding day; our latitude being 
35* 49t> anc * *^ e bluff hummock in sight bearing N. 22 W. 

A tide or current setting along the shore appeared to retard 
us considerably, for at sunset we were not so much as two miles 
from the noon's place ; the hummock then bore N. 25 W., and the 
furthest part of the coast south-east-by-east from the mast head. 

An amplitude taken in the morning, with the ship's head west- 
by-south; gave 5 11' east variation ; and in the afternoon, when the 
land was only three miles distant and the head south-east, azimuths 
with the same compass gave o° 50' west. These, corrected to the 
meridian in the mode J have adopted, will be severally i° 57' and 
l* 30' east; and the mean i° 44/. The variation had therefore 
decreased considerably since leaving Kanguroo Island, contrary to the 
natural order; which proves that the quick increase on passing 
Yorke's Peninsula, was owing to some peculiar attraction, either in 

Digitized by 


196 A VOYAGE TO [SotUh Coast. 

180& that or the neighbouring lands. Whilst beating through the Back- 
Saturcty 10. sta * rs Passage, I, had observed an amplitude when the ship's head 
was south-south-west, which gave the extraordinary variation of 
a° 41' east, or reduced to the meridian, i° 27' east ; although we 
were then not so much as four miles from the anchorage where it 
had been found 4 13' east. Another amplitude was observed at 
eight leagues to the east of Cape Willoughby, when the head was 
north-east-half-east, and gave 2 5' east variation, or reduced, 4* 36' 
This last is correspondent with what was observed near Kanguroo 
Head and in the Gulph of St. Vincent; but the variation of i°27' 
in the passage is totally irregular, and must I think be ascribed 
to an attraction either in Cape Jervis to the north-east, or in the east 
end of Kanguroo Island to the south-east, or to both. When the 
great variation of 4* 36' was obtained, both these lands were to the 
west ; and when afterwards the i° 57' and i° 30' were observed, the 
nearest land was again to the eastward of the ship ; and nearest in 
the last case. 

The winds continued to be light and unfavourable ; but by 
taking advantage of the changes in direction, and keeping further 
from the land, out of the tide or current, we had gained eight leagues 
Sunday 11. by noon of the 11th. About twenty miles of coast beyond what had 
(Atia« f been set as the furthest extreme on the preceding day, was then in 
sight ; and our situation and bearings were as follow : 
Latitude by corrected log, 
Longitude by time keepers, 
Northern extreme, from the mast head, 
Nearest part, distant 7 or 8 miles, 
A broad patch of white sand, 
Southern extreme, from the mast head, 
At one o'clock we bore away along the coast, with a light 
breeze from the north-eastward; and having run five leagues, 
Monday 12. tacked to seaward soon after dark. Next morning, we again fol- 
lowed the coast at the distance of from five to three miles ; and at 

36° 1 1' 


*39 39! 
10 E. 




59 E - 
78 E. 

66 E. 

Digitized by 


TowardsC. Northumberland.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 197 

noon a somewhat projecting part, which appears to be the Cape Ber- isos. 
nautili of the French navigators, was three or four miles distant to Monday 12. 
the east. Its latitude is 36* 33' and longitude 139 51'; and about 
six miles to the south-south-east, there are two low, black rocks 
lying close under the shore. 

From Encounter Bay to this slight projection, the coast is little 
else than a bank of sand, with a few hummocks on the top, partially 
covered with small vegetation ; nor could any thing in the interior 
country be distinguished above the bank. The shore runs waving 
between east-south-east and south-south-east ; but to form what is 
called Cape Bernouilli, it trends south, and then curves back south- 
eastward into a bight. The land then becomes better clothed with 
bushes and small trees ; and it also differs from the more northern 
part in that some little risings of back land were visible. 

Our soundings were more shallow along this part of the coast 
than before, The depth in passing Cape Bernouilli was from 8 to 
12 fathoms ; and on tacking out of the southern bight, at half past 
five in the evening, it was no more than 6, at three miles from the 
shore. We then saw land extending as far out as S. 29 W., which 
was the south head of the bight, and appears to be the Cape Jaffa of 
the French ; but I do not find that they have given any name to the 
bight or bay, although much more deserving than some other sinu- 
osities in the coast on which that honour is conferred. 

This evening the variation from azimuths was 1* 25' east, 
taken when the ship's head was S. S. E.jE.; which being corrected 
upon the same principle as before, is 3° o' east, and showed the varia- 
tion to be now increasing, according to the regular order. 

During the night, we worked up successfully against a south- 
south-east wind, for at six in the morning the low, outer extreme of Tuesday 13. 
Cape Jaffa bore N. 15* E., six or seven miles. The shore is sandy, 
but rises from the beach to a moderate elevation, and is then well 
clothed with small wood. About three leagues to the south of "the 
cape is a cluster of low rocks, apparently the same of which captain 
vol. 1, 3 F 

Digitized by 


188 A VOYAG^ TO {South Coast. 

1802. Baudin had given me information ; they do not, however, lie exactly 

TueXy 13. m *he situation expressed in his memorandum, and are not more 

than two miles from the land. We called them Baudin 9 s Rocks; and 

since no name is applied to them in M. Peron's account of their 

voyage, the appellation is continued. 

Four miles beyond the rocks, is a point of moderate elevation; 
sandy, but mostly overspread with bushes. This is their Cape Lannes ; 
and on its north-side is a small bay, called the Baye de Rivoli, with a 
sandy shore, and open to west winds. The bearings of these places, 
and our situation at noon, half an hour after tacking from Baudin's 
Rocks, were as under ; 

Latitude, observed to the north, 

Longitude by time keepers, 

Cape Jaffa, extreme, 

Baudin's Rocks, distant 3 miles, 

Rivoli Bay, about the middle, 

Cape Lannes, distant 4 or 5 miles, 

Furthest extreme of the coast, 
Wednw. 14. jr or ffa e j as t p^ j a y S there had been a little current in our 

favour, and notwithstanding that the winds had been mostly adverse, 
we made some progress along the coast; but on opening out the 
land beyond Cape Lannes, the current took a northern direction, and 
at noon of this day we were no further advanced than to have that 
cape bearing N. 86° E. at the distance of nine or ten miles. The 
furthest part of the coast then visible was a peaked sandy hummock, 
bearing S. 68 1- E. In the night, the wind came more off the land, 
and permitted us to make an advantageous tack to the southward ; 
Thuw. 15. and at noon next day, when we had reached in again with the coast, 
our situation was in 

Latitude observed, - - 37° 23^' 

Longitude by time keepers, - 139 50 

Cape Lannes, west extreme, bore - N; 13 W. 

The peaked sandy hummock, dist. 5 miles, N. 2^ E. 

Furthest extreme, - - - S. 59 E. 


139 41 


2 E. 


70 E. 


72 E. 


46 E. 


38 E. 

Digitized by 


TbtvardsC. Northumberland.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 199 

In the evening we got sight of a projecting, and somewhat elevated 1802. 
part, which lies ten leagues to the south-eastward of Cape Lannes, Thuw! is, 
and appears to be the Cape Buffbn of the French navigators. The 
intermediate coast is similar to that between Encounter Bay and 
Cape Bernouilli; with the sole difference that the ^hummocks upon 
the sandy bank are somewhat higher: nothing inland appeared above 

The wind was again favourable in the night for making a long 
stretch to the southward; and it was prolonged to the next day at Friday w. 
noon, when our distance from the coast was judged to be ten leagues ; 
but no part of it was in sight, and we had then got out of soundings, 
there being no bottom at 200 fathoms. The latitude was 37 5/ 
south, and longitude from six sets of distances of stars east and west 
of the moon, 139 39', but by the time keepers corrected, 139° 45* 
east. Not more than seven or eight leagues from this situation, 
there should lie an island according to the accotint given by captain 
Turnbull of the Britannia south whaler, who saw it in his passage 
out to Port Jackson. Having thick weather at the time, he was not 
able to ascertain its latitude or longitude, otherwise than by the log; 
and as it was not in sight from our mast head, its position must be 
considered as very uncertain. 

The variations observed this day, with the same compass 
always on the binnacle, were as under : 

By morning's amplitude, ship's head S. E. by S. - «° 39' east. 
# morning's azimuth, \ S. S. E. - 2 & 

evening's azimuth, - N. E. - * 9 

The mean, reduced to the meridian, will be 4* g east. Nine leagues 
to the north, and half the distance nearer to the land, an amplitude 
had been taken with the ship's head in the meridian, which gave x 
4* 8' east. 

On the three preceding days many tacks had been made 
from the shore, and I had frequently taken bearings just before the 
helm was put down ; and so soon as the ship was round and the 

Digitized by 


200 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

isoa. compass steady, they were again taken. Differences always took 
Friday 16. place; and without any exception the bearings required a greater 
allowance of variation to the right after tacking, when the head was 
westward, than before, when eastward ; agreeing with the differences 
so frequently found in the azimuths and amplitudes, which had always 
been to show a greater east or less west variation when the head was 
on the west side of the meridian. The least average difference in any 
one of five sets of bearings was 4^°, the greatest 7 , and the mean $&; 
and according to the system adopted in correcting the variations, ex- 
plained in the Appendix No. II. to the second volume, the mean dif- 
ference arising from the five changes in the direction of the ship's 
head, should be 5 35'. 

The eastern wind died away at noon of the 16th, and the ship 
scarcely had steerage way until after midnight; a breeze then sprung 
up from the north-westward, and we steered north-east to make the 
Saturday 17. land near Cape Buffbn. At half past seven the cape bore N. i° W. 
seven miles, and was ascertained to be in nearly 37 36' south, and 
140* io' east. There is a bight in the coast on its north side, where 
the land was not distinctly seen all round, owing probably to its 
being alow beach. At nine o'clock we bore away southward, keep- 
ing at the distance of two or three miles from the shore. It was the 
same kind of hummock-topped bank as before described ; but a ridge 
of moderately high hills, terminated to the southward by a bluff, was 
visible over it, three or four leagues inland ; and there was a reef of 
rocks lying in front of the shore. At noon, two larger rocks were 
seen at the southern end of the reef, and are those called by the 
French, the Carpenters. They lie one or two miles from a sandy 
projection named by them Cape Boufflers ; but here a prior title to 
discovery interferes. 

On arriving at Port Jackson, I learned, and so did captain Bau- 
din, that this coast had been before visited. Lieutenant ( now captain ) 
James Grant, commander of His Majesty's brig Lady Nelson, saw the 
above projection, which he named Cape Banks, on Dec. 3, 1800 ; and 

Digitized by 


Towards ^Northumberland.] TERRA AUSTR ALIS. 201 > 

followed the coast from thence, through Bass* Strait* The same isos. 
principle upon which I had adopted the names applied by the French Saturday '17. 
navigators to the parts discovered by them, will now guide me in 
making use of the appellations bestowed by captain Grant. 

The termination to the west, of that part of the South Coast 
discovered by captain Baudin in Le G6ographe, has been pointed out; 
and it seems proper to specify its commencement to the east, that the 
extent of his Terre Napoleon may be properly defined. The begin- 
ning of the land which, of all Europeans was first seen by him, so 
far as is known, cannot be placed further to the south-east than Cape 
Buffon ; for the land is laid down to the northward of it in captain 
Grant's chart, though indistinctly. The Terre Napoleon is therefore 
comprised between the latitudes 37 36' and 35 40' south, and the 
longitudes 140 10' and 138 58' east of Greenwich; making with 
the windings, about fifty leagues of coast, in which, as captain 
Baudin truly, observed, there is neither river, inlet, nor place of 
shelter ; nor does even the worst parts of Nuyts' Land exceed it in 

At noon of the 17th we were in 
Latitude observed, - - 37* 47^' 

Longitude by time keepers, - 140 i6~ 

Cape Buffon bore - - - - - N. 26 W. 

Reef of rocks, ( nearest part dist. 2 \ miles ) N. 51 to S. 42 E. 
Hills behind the coast, - - - N. 38 to N. 79 E. 

Sandy hummock on West\ Cape Banks S. 44 E. 

* See A Foyage in the Lady Nelson to New South Wales, by James Grant. London, 
1803, This voyage was . published four years previously to M. Peron's book ; but no 
more attention was paid at Paris to captain Grant's rights than to mine ; his discoveries, 
though known to M. Peron and the French expedition in 1802, being equally claimed 
and named by them. 

t The addition of West is made to the name, to distinguish it from Cape Banks on the 
East Coast, named by captain Cook. It is to be regretted, that navigators often apply 
names in so careless a manner as to introduce confusion into geography. 

Digitized by 


202 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. i n the afternoon the wind veered to the southward, and we 


Saturday 17. tacked from the shore, not being able to weather the Carpenters at 
the south end of the reef. A long swell rolled in at this time, and 
seemed to announce a gale fropi the southward, yet the wind died 
Sunday is. away in the night ; and at daybreak a light breeze sprung up at north- 
west, and enabled us to close in with the land. We passed the Car- 
penters at the distance of four miles ; but at two in the afternoon 
the wind again died away. A cliffy point which proved to be 
the Cape Northumberland of captain Grant, was then in sight, as 
also were two inland mountains lying to the north-east; the nearest is 
his Mount Schanck, of a flat, table-like form, the further one, Mount 
Gambier, is peaked. The following bearings were taken whilst ly- 
ing becalmed. 

West C. Banks, sandy hummock, dist. ^ leagues, N. »° W. 
Mount Schanck, - - ' - - N. 70 E. 

Cape Northumberland, dist. 3 or 4 leagues, - S. 82 E. 

The long swell from the southward still prevailed, and the 
barometer was fast falling ; but at seven in the evening a breeze 
sprung up once more from the north-west; and after stretching a 
little off from the shore, we laid to for the greater part of the night. 
Monday 19; At daylight the wind was at north-north-west, and blew fresh, with 
squally weather. We reached in for the land ; and at eight, 

C. Northumberland, dist. 6 or 7 miles, bore N. 39° W. 

Mount Schanck, - - - N. 1 W. 

Furthest extreme, obscured by haze, - S. 66 E. 
Close to Cape Northumberland are two pointed rocks, resem- 
bling the back fins of sharks; and on its eastern side were heavy 
breakers, extending more than a mile from the shore. The situation 
of the cape, as near as it could be ascertained, is in 38° s' south, and 
140 37!' east. 

Beyond Cape Northumberland the coast was found to trend 
east-by-north, but curved afterwards to east-by-south ; it was 
higher than we had lately seen, and not so barren ; nevertheless, the 

Digitized by 


Off C. Bridgewater.'] TERRA AUSTRALIS. . 208 

shrubs and small trees did not more than half cover the sandy surface. !«*• 
We pursued the round of the coast at the distance of four or five Monday 19. 
miles, having three reefs in the top sails on account of the squally 
weather. At ten o'clock, in a clear interval, land was seen bearing 
S. 51 E. ; and a thick squall with rain coming on, in which the 
wind shifted suddenly from north-north-west to south-west, we were 
forced to haul close up, and let out the third reefs in order to wea- 
ther the coast. A constant succession of rainy squalls prevented us 
from knowing how the land lay for some time, nor could an obser- 
vation for the latitude be obtained ; but at half past noon our anxiety 
was relieved by distinguishing the furthest extreme, a bold, cliffy 
cape, bearing S. 72-° E., broad on the lee bow. 

This high projection was the Cape Bridgewater of captain 
Grant. A hill upon it slopes to the edge of the cliffs by which the 
cape is begirt toward the sea ; and on the land side it descends so 
low, that the connection of the hill with the main could not be clearly 
discerned. To the northward, and nearly in a line with the first, 
are two other hills almost equal to it in elevation. As we passed Cape 
Bridgewater, a second cliffy head opened at S. 73^° E. and a further 
round the last, at N. 83° E. These are the Capes Nelson and Sir W. 
Grant , though differing considerably in relative position from what 
they are laid down in captain Grant's chart. 

At two o'clock, the weather having become somewhat finer, 
I ventured to bear away along the coast ; and presently a small 
island with two hummocks on it, and a rock nearer to the shore were 
visible : these are Lawrence's Isles. The bearings of the land at four were, 

C. Bridgewater, top of the hill, dist. 4 leagues, N. 44* W. 

Cape Nelson, the south-west extreme, - N. »i W., 

Cape Sir W. Grant, east part of the cliffs, - N. 12 E. 

Lawrence's double Isle, dist. 3 leagues, - - N. 25 E. 
Before six we hauled the wind offshore ; having set the double isle at 
N. 43 W., six or seven miles, and seen the land indistinctly as far as 

Digitized by 


204 A VOYAGE TO [South C«ut. 

1802. During the night there were squalls of wind with hail and 

Tuesday 20. rain, but tolerably moderate weather in the intervals. At daylight* 
we bore away for the land ; and at half past seven, the 

Hill on Cape Bridgewater bore - N. 66° W. 

Lawrence's double isle, - - N. 53 W. 

A cliffy, flat-topped isle, west extreme, N. 16 E. 
This last is Lady Julia Percy's Isle; and when it bore N. 64* E. five 
miles, we steered eastward along the coast. At some distance 
inland, to the northward of Lady Percy's Isle, a round hill was dis- 
tinguished; but the shore was scarcely perceptible through the squalls 
and haze : what little of it could be seen, appeared to be sandy and 
of moderate elevation. 

At eleven, the land was perceived to the eastward, and we hauled 
up east-south-east. Our latitude at noon, from an indifferent double 
altitude, was 38* 33^ and it is upon this uncertain observation, that 
the correctness of the neighbouring lands in the chart principally 
depend ; I do not, therefore, specify here either the latitudes or lon- 
gitudes. The coast was seen to leeward at times, and appeared to 
be moderately high ; we ran along it at the distance of five, and 
from that to eight miles, clewing down the treble-reefed top sails 
occasionally, and setting them after the squalls were passed. At 
two o'clock, the land appeared to be trending south-east, which 
obliged us to haul up to the wind and take in close reefs ; and the 
gale increasing, the fore and mizen top sails were handed. 

It was seldom that the weather would allow of any thing 
being distinguished beyond two miles; and when the night came on, 
we were quite uncertain of the trending of the coast. At eight 
o'clock, by favour of moon light and a short cessation of rain, land 
was perceived on the lee beam ; it seemed to be a head of consider- 
able elevation, and was judged to be from three to six miles off. 
The fore and mizen top sails and reefed main sail were immediately 
set, notwithstanding the danger to the masts ; and there being much 
sea running, the ship was kept one point from the wind, to make her 

Digitized by 


Bass 9 Strait.} TERRA AUSTRALIS. 205 

go through the water. We had no chance of clearing the land on isos, 
the other tack; and therefore our sole hope was, that the coast p 
might not trend any further to the southward. 

At two in the morning, the strength of the gale obliged us to Wednes. n. 
take in the fore and mizen top sails and main sail ; and we had 
soundings in 45 fathoms, small stones. Our anxiety was great until 
daylight, when it was dissipated by not finding any land near us ; 
and in the course of the morning the wind moderated, the barometer 
began to ascend, and the weather became even fine. Our latitude at 

- (Atlas. 

noon was 39 lOj' and longitude 144 22' ; the last being 22' more than pite vi.) 
given by the log. High land was then visible astern, extending 
from about N. 50* to 17 W., at the supposed distance of twelve or 
fifteen leagues. 

We were now entered into Bass' Strait ; and the subsiding of 
the sea made me suspect that the large island, concerning which I 
had made inquiry of captain Baudin, was to windward. The south 
part of this island was discovered by Mr. Reid, in a sealing expedi- 
tion from Port Jackson ; and before quitting New South Wales in 
1799, I had received an account of its lying to the north-west of 
Hunter's Isles. It afterwards appeared, that the northern part was 
seen in January 1801, by Mr. John Black, commander of the brig 
Harbinger, who gave to it the name of King's Island.* Of this I 
was ignorant at the time ; but since it was so very dangerous to 
explore the main coast with the present south-west wind, I was 
desirous of ascertaining the position of this island before going to 
Port Jackson, more especially as it had escaped the observation of 
captain Baudin. 

Our soundings in the afternoon, and until four in the morning Thura. **, 
when we tacked to the westward, were from 35 to 28 fathoms, sand 
and shells. At eight o'clock, land was seen to the south-west; and 
at noon our 

* Grant's Voyage to New South Wales, page 89. 
VOL. I. 3 G 

Digitized by 


206 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

i8os. Latitude observed was - - 39* 3 ii-' 

Thure.**. Longitude by time keepers, - - 14416 

King's Island, south extreme, bore - S. 18 W. 
' a middle hummock, - S. 37 W. 
— — — — northern extreme, - S. 74 W. 
High main land from the mast head, - N. 23 W. 
We tacked to the south-south-east at three o'clock, working 
up for King's Island, which was distant about five or six leagues, 
directly to windward. In the night we lay up south, parallel with 
the east side of the island ; but the soundings having diminished to 
16 fathoms, I feared we might be approaching a reef of rocks lying 
off the south-east end, of which Mr. Reid had spoken. We there- 
fore tacked to the northward at eleven o'clock ; ^nd after beating 
Friday 23. until three in the following afternoon, got to an anchor in 9 fathoms, 
fine sand, under the north-east end of King's Island ; the nearest 
part of the shore being distant a short half mile, and the extremes 
bearing S. 37 E. and N. 6g° W. 

A boat was immediately hoisted out, and I landed with the 
botanical gentlemen. On stepping out of the boat, I shot one of 
those little bear-like quadrupeds, called Womat; and another was 
afterwards killed. A seal, of a species different to any yet seen by 
us, was also procured ; its phippers behind were double, when <x>m- 
pared to the common kinds of seal, and those forward were smaller, 
and placed nearer to the head ; the hair was much shorter, and of a 
blueish, grey colour; the nose flat and broad ; and the fat upon the 
animal was at least treble the usual quantity. I never saw the sea 
elephant, and possibly this might have been a young female ; but 
there was no appearance of any trunk. A top-mast studding-sail 
boom, not much injured, was lying near the landing place; and as I 
afterwards learned that the wreck of a vessel had been found upon 
the west side of the island, this boom had probably drifted from 

Digitized by 


Bast Strait.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 20T 

The north-east part of King's Island extends south-east-by*. 1802. 
east, three or four leagues. The shore is mostly of sand, and Friday^. 
behind the beach it was washed or blown up in great ridges, but 
partly overspread with a kind of dog grass which kept the sand 
together. In general, the land is low ; but some little eminences 
appeared at a distance, and at the north end of the island there is a 
short range of hills, moderately high and covered with wood. Granite 
seemed to be the basis of the shore where we landed. Behind the 
front ridges of sand was a brush wood, so thick as to be almost 
impenetrable; but whilst I was occupied in taking bearings, the 
botanists found some openings in the brush, and picked up so many 
plants as to make them desirous of a further examination. We 
returned on board at dusk, with our womats, the seal, and a kan- 
guroo ; the last being of a middle size between the small species of 
the lesser islands, and the large kind found at Kanguroo Island and 
on the continent. It appeared indeed, all along the South Coast, that 
the size of the kanguroo bore some proportion to the extent of land 
which it inhabited. 

In the morning, the wind blew fresh from the southward. A Saturday 24! 
boat was sent on shore with Mr. Brown and his party; and at eleven 
o'clock, when they returned, we got under way. 

A small lake of fresh water was found at a little distance 
behind the sandy ridges in front of the shore. This was surrounded 
by a good vegetable soil ; and the number of plants collected near it 
was greater than had before been found upon any one island. The 
small lake is too far from the sea side for a ship to obtain water from 
it conveniently ; but two little streams which drained from the sand 
hills, made it probable that fresh water might have been obtained 
any where at this time by digging. The water of these rills was 
tinged red, similar to that obtained at King George's Sound, and to 
the pools I had before seen at Furneaux's Islands ; and as the stone 
in these places is granite, and water so discoloured was not found 

Digitized by 


20& A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. any where else, it seems very probable that the discolouring arises 
toX*- from the S ranite ™ d s ranitic sand - 

Two more womats were killed this morning; and a skull was 
picked up, which was thought to be of a small dog ; but more pro- 
bably was that of an opossum. 

From the observations taken whilst beating up to the anchor- 
age, the top of the highest hill at the north end of King's Island will 
be in latitude 39* 36^ south, and longitude 143° 54/ east. The varia- 
tion of the compass, taken on the binnacle with the ship's head at 
south, was 7 59' east; but ten leagues to the eastward it was 1 1° 5*', 
with the head west-south-west, or reduced to the meridian, 8° 43' 
east. The tides set one mile and a half an hour past the ship, north- 
west-by-west and south-east-by-east, nearly as the coast lies; that 
from the eastward running nearly eight hours, and turning about two 
hours after the moon had passed the meridian ; but which tide was the 
flood, or what the rise, we did not remain long enough to determine. 

The time was fast approaching when it would be necessary to 
proceed to Port Jackson ; both on account of the winter season, and 
from the want of some kinds of provisions. Before this took place, 
I wished to finish as much of the South Coast as possible, and would 
have recommenced at' Cape Bridgewater had the wind been favour- 
able ; but it still blew fresh from the southward, and all that part 
remained a lee shore. I determined, however, to run over to the 
high land we had seen on the north side of Bass' Strait; and to trace 
as much of the coast from thence eastward, as the state of the 
weather and our remaining provisions could possibly allow. 

In steering north-north-west from King's Island, two small isles 
were seen lying off the north-west side; the first opening from the 
northern extreme at S. 50 , and the second being clear of it at S. 36 W. 
These are the same which Mr. Black named New Year's Isles; 
.and his Harbinger's Reefs were seen to extend, in patches, nearly 
two leagues from the north end of King's Island ; but there is, as I 

Digitized by 


Bast Strait.} TERRA AUSTRALIA 209 

afterwards learned, one or more passages between the reefs, and isoa. 
another between them and the island.* Saturday 24. 

At three in the afternoon the northern land was in sight, and 
the highest hills of King's Island were sinking below the horizon, as 
seen from the deck. Their distance was twenty-five miles; and 
consequently the elevation of them is between four and five hundred 
feet above the level of the sea. At five o'clock, a bluff head, the 
most projecting part of the northern land, was distant three or four 
leagues ; it was Captain Grant's 

Cape Otway, and bore - N. 54 W. 

The extremes of the land, - N. 58° W. to 23 E. 

We then hauled to the wind, and stood off and on ; at day- 
light bore away for the land with a moderate breeze from the south- Sunday 25. 
ward ; and at eight o'clock, when Cape Otway bore N. 6g° W. ten 
miles, we steered north-eastward along the shore. On the west side 
<5f Cape Otway the coast falls back somewhat to the north, and pro- 
jects again at the distance of ten or eleven miles ; where it is not, as 
I think, more than three leagues to the east of the headland seen 
under the lee at eight in the evening of the aoth. From Cape 
Otway, eastward, the shore trends east-north-east about three leagues, 
to a projection called Cape Patton, and according to Captain Grant, 
a bay is formed between them ; but at three leagues off, nothing 
worthy of being called a bay could be perceived. Beyond Cape 
Patton the coast took a more northern direction, to a point with a 
flat-topped hill upon it, and further than this it was not visible. 

The whole of this land is high, the elevation of the uppermost 
parts being not less than two thousand feet. The rising hills were 
covered with wood of a deep green foliage, and without any vacant 

• The New Year's Isles form a small roadsted, in which the brig Harrington from Port 
Jackson, commanded by Mr. W. Campbell, had rode out the south-west gale ; and was 
lying there at this time, engaged in a sealing speculation. Bass' Strait had not been 
discovered much above two years, and it was already turned to purposes of various utility; 
a strong proof of enterprising spirit in the colonists of New South Wales. 

Digitized by 


2ia A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1802. spaces of rock or sand ; so that I judged this part of the coast to 
Sunday 25. exceed in fertility all that had yet fallen under observation. 

Cape Otway lies very nearly in latitude 38 51' south, and- 
longitude 143 «</ east. The width of the north-west entrance to 
Bass' Strait, between this cape on the north and King's Island to the 
south, is therefore sixteen leagues ; and with the trifling exception 
of the Harbinger's Reefs, which occupy not quite two leagues of the 
southern part, the passage is free from danger. In such parts of it 
as we got soundings, the depth was between 38 and 50 fathoms. 

At noon, the wind had veered to the south-east, which being 
directly upon the shore, I did not think it prudent to follow the 
land too closely ; and we therefore kept up nearly to the wind. In 
the course of the afternoon, land came in sight to the eastward ; and 
the bearings taken at sunset were these : 

Furthest extreme towards C. Otway, S. 73 W. 

Furthest connected part to the northward, N. 18 W. 

Two small distant peaks, - - N. 1 W. 

Bluff head, like the N. end of an island, N. 63 E. 

Extreme of the eastern land, - N. 83 E. 

Between the first and last of these bearings there was a deep bight 
formed, at the head of which no other land than the two small peaks 
could be perceived. 
Monday 26> In the morning we kept close to an east-south-east wind, 

steering for the land to the north-eastward ; and at nine o'clock 
captain Grant's Cape Schanck, the extreme of the preceding even- 
ing, was five leagues distant to the N. 88° E., and a rocky point 
towards the head of the bight, bore N. i«° E. On coming within 
- five miles of the shore at eleven o'clock, we fouhd it to be low, and 
mostly sandy ; and that the bluff head which had been taken for 
the north-end of an island, was part of a ridge of hills rising at 
Cape Schanck. We then bore away westward, in order to trace the 
land round the head of the deep bight ; and at noon, the situation of 
the ship and principal bearings were as under : 

Digitized by 


Bass 9 Strait.] TERRA AUSTRALIA Bll 

Latitude observed, - - g8° 9 a' J^ 

Longitude by time keepers, - 144 31^ Monday «6. 

Cape Schanck, - - - S. 68* E. 

The rocky point, distant 6 or 7 miles, N. 48 E. 

Highest of two inland peaks, - N. 15 W. 

A square-topped hill near the shore, N. «8 W. 

Extr. of the high land towards C. Otway, S. 56 W. 
On the west side of the rocky point there was a small open- 
ing, with breaking water across it ; however, on advancing a little 
more westward the opening assumed a more interesting aspect, and 
I bore away to have a nearer view. A large extent of water pre- 
sently became visible within side ; and although the entrance seemed 
to be very narrow, and there were in it strong ripplings like 
breakers, I was induced to steer in at half past one ; the ship being 
close upon a wind and every man ready for tacking at a moment's 
warning. The soundings were irregular between 6 and 12 fathoms, 
until we got four miles within the entrance, when they shoaled quick 
to 2^. We then tacked ; and having a strong tide in our favour, 
worked to the eastward between the shoal and the rocky point, 
with 1 2 fathoms for the deepest water. In making the last stretch 
from the shoal, the depth diminished from 10 fathoms quickly to 
g ; and before the ship could come round, the flood tide set her 
upon a mud bank, and she stuck fast. A boat was lowered down 
to sound ; and finding the deep water lie to the north-west, a kedge 
anchor was carried out; and having got the ship's head in that 
direction, the sails were filled and she drew off into 6 and 10 
fathoms ; and it being then dark, we came to an anchor. 

The extensive harbour we had thus unexpectedly found I 
supposed must be Western Port, although the narrowness of the 
entrance did by no means correspond with the width given to it by 
Mr. Bass. It was the information of captain Baudin, who had 
coasted along from thence with fine weather, and had found no 
inlet of any kind, which induced this supposition ; and the very 

Digitized by 


212 A VOYAGE TO [South Coart. 

ism. great extent of the place, agreeing with that of Western Port, was 
P ' in confirmation of it. This, however, was not Western Port, as we 
Tuesday 27. found next morning ; and I congratulated myself on having made 
a new and useful discovery ; but here again I was in error. This 
place, as I afterwards learned at Port Jackson, had been discovered 
ten weeks before by lieutenant John Murray, who had succeeded 
captain Grant in the command of the Lady Nelson. He had given 
it the name of Port Phillip, and to the rocky point on the east side 
of the entrance, that of Point Nepean. 

Our situation was found in the morning to be near two miles 
from the south shore, and the extreme towards Point Nepean bore 
N. 83° W., two leagues. About three miles to the north-by-west 
were some dry rocks, with bushes on tjiem, surrounded with mud 
flats ; and they appeared to form a part of the same shoal from 
which we had three times tacked in s£ and 3 fathoms. The mud 
bank where the ship had grounded, is distinct from the middle 
shoal ; but I am not certain that it is so from the south shore, from 
which it is one mile distant. The Bluff Mount (named Arthur's Seat 
by Mr. Murray, from a supposed resemblance to the hill of that 
name near Edinburgh,) bore S. 76° E.; but from thence the shore 
trended nothward so far, that the land at the head of the port could 
not be seen, even from aloft. Before proceeding any higher with 
the ship, I wished to gain some knowledge of the form and extent 
of this great piece of water ; and Arthur's Seat being more than a 
thousand feet high and near the water side, presented a favourable 
station for that purpose. 

After breakfast I went away in a boat, accompained by Mr. 
Brown and some other gentlemen, for the Seat. It was seven or 
eight miles from the ship ; and in steering nearly a straight course 
for it, we passed over the northern skirt of the shoal where the ship 
had touched ; but afterwards had from 7 to 5 fathoms dearly to the 
shore. Having observed the latitude there from an artificial horizon, 
I ascended the hill ; and to my surprise found the port so extensive, 

Digitized by 


Pbrt Phillip.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 213 

that even at this elevation its boundary to the northward could not isos. 
be distinguished. The western shore extended from the entrance Tuesday V. 
ten or eleven miles in a northern direction, to the extremity of what, 
from its appearance, I called Indented Head; beyond it was a wide 
branch of the port leading to the westward, and I suspected might 

have a communication with the sea ; for it was almost incredible, 


that such a vast piece of water should not have a larger outlet than 
that through which we had cQme. 

I took an extensive set of bearings from the clearest place to 
be found on the north-western, bluff part of the hill ; and we after- 
wards walked a little way back upon the ridge. From thence 
another considerable piece of water was seen, at the distance of three 
or four leagues; it seemed to be mostly shallow; but as it appeared 
to have a communication with the sea to the south, I had no doubt 
of its being Mr. Bass' Western Port. 

Arthur's Seat and the hills and vallies in its neighbourhood, 
were generally well covered with wood ; and the soil was superior 
to any upon the borders of the salt water, which I have had an 
opportunity of examining in Terra Australis. There were many 
marks of natives, such as deserted fire places and heaps of oyster 
shells ; and upon the peninsula which forms the south side of the 
port, a smoke was rising, but we did not see any of -the people. 
Quantities of fine oysters were lying upon the beaches, between high 
and low water marks, and appeared to have been washed up by the 
surf; a circumstance which I do not recollect to have observed in any 
other part of this country. 

We returned on board at dusk in the evening; and at daylight wednes. 28. 
the anchor was weighed with the intention of coasting round the 
port with the ship. The wind was at north-east, but the flood tide 
was in our favour ; and having made a stretch toward the middle 
shoals, we tacked and ran east- south-east along their south side, 
until past eight; when the flood having ceased, we came to in 7 
fathoms. At slack water in the afternoon we again steered east,. 
vol. 1. 3 H 

Digitized by 


214 A VOYAGE TO [Sou* Coast. 

i8o*. ward, but were soon obliged to anchor from want of wind ; and I 

WednesTsa. found that this slow mode of proceeding was not at all suited to the 

little time for which we had provisions remaining, besides that there 

was much probability of getting frequently aground ; the plan of 

examining the port with the ship was therefore abandoned. 

Having left orders with Mr. Fowler, the first lieutenant, to 
Than. 89. take the ship back to the entrance, I went in a boat early next morn- 
ing with provisions for three days; in order to explore as much of 
the port as could be done in that time. Round the east end of the 
middle shoals I carried 6 and 7 fathoms ; and keeping north-east- 
ward, had 8 and 9 fathoms at a mile or more from the shore, and 
4 close past the second rocky point above Arthur's Seat. The wind 
being at north-west, I was obliged to land behind some rocks more 
than two miles short of the third point, but walked to it with my 
surveying instruments. This was nine miles from the Seat, and the 
furthest part of the shore seen from thence; further on, the shore 
falls back more eastward, in long sandy beaches, and afterwards 
curves to the north-west; but it was lost to sight long before joining 
the land on the west side of the port. After taking angles and 
observing for the latitude and longitude, I rowed to windward for 
Indented Head, five leagues off. At the end of the first mile and a 
half the depth was 11 fathoms, but afterwards no bottom at 12, until 
within two miles of the western shore, where it was 9 fathoms. 
We landed at nine o'clock at night, near the uppermost part which 
had yet been seen. 
Friday so. In the morning, a fire was perceived two-hundred yards from 

the tent; and the Indians appeared to have decamped from thence 
on our landing. Whilst I was taking angles from a low point at the 
north-easternmost part of Indented Head, a party of the inhabitants 
showed themselves about a mile from us ; and on landing there we 
found a hut with a fire in it, but the people had disappeared, and 
carried off their effects. I left some strips of cloth, of their favourite 
red colour, hanging about the hut ; and proceeded westward along 

Digitized by 


Port Ptnllip.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 215 

the shore, to examine the arm of the port running in that direo isos. 

. » April, 

tion. • IHday 3a 

Three natives having made their appearance abreast of the 
boat, we again landed. They came to us without hesitation, received 
a shag and some trifling presents with pleasure, and parted with 
such of their arms as we wished to possess, without reluctance. 
They afterwards followed us along the shore; and when I shot 
another bird, which hovered over the boat, and held it up to them, 
they ran down to the water side and received it without expressing 
either surprise or distrust. Their knowledge of the effect of fire 
arms I then attributed to their having seen me shoot birds when un- 
conscious of being observed ; but it had probably been learned from 
Mr. Murray. 

At noon, I landed to take an observation of the sun, which 
gave 38 7 # 6" for -the latitude; my position being nearly at the 
northern extremity of Indented Head. Some bearings were taken 
from the brow of a hill a little way back ; and after a dinner of 
which the natives partook, we left them on friendly terms, to 
proceed westward in our examination The water became very 
shallow abreast of a sandy point, whence the shore trends nearly 
south-west; and there being no appearance of an opening to 
the sea this way, I steered across the western arm, as well to 
ascertain its depth as with the intention of ascending the hills lying 
behind the northern shore. Two of the peaks upon these hills 
had been set from the ship's deck at sunset of the 25th, at the dis- 
tance of thirty-seven miles ; and as their elevation must consequently 
be a thousand feet, or more, I expected to obtain from thence such a 
view of the upper parts of the port, as would render the coasting 
round it unnecessary. 

The width of the western arm was found to be six miles; and 
the soundings across augmented regularly to 6 fathoms in mid-chan- 
nel, and then decreased in the same way; but there was less than 
$ fathoms at two miles from the northern shore. That side is 

Digitized by 


216 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast. 

1808. indeed very low and marshy, with mud banks lying along it ; and 
Friday so. we had difficulty in finding a dry place to pitch the tei)t, and still 

more to procure wood wherewith to cook the ducks I had shot upon 

the banks. 
May. At day dawn Y set off with three of the boat's crew, for the 

Saturday 1. 

highest part of the back hills called Station Peak. Our way was 
over a low plain, where the water appeared frequently to lodge ; it 
was covered with small-bladed grass, but almost destitute of wood, 
and the soil was clayey and shallow. One or two miles before 
arriving at the feet of the hills, we entered a wood where an emu 
and a kanguroo were seen at a distance ; and the top of the peak 
was reached at ten o'clock. My position was then 21' of latitude 
from Point Nepean, in the direction of N. a8° go 7 W., and I saw the 
water of the port as far as N. 75 E., at the distance of seven or eight 
leagues; so that the whole extent of the port, north and south, 
is at least thirty miles. The extremity of the western arm bore 
S. 15*45' W., which makes the extent, east and west, to be thirty-six 
miles; but there was no communication with the sea on that side, nor 
did the western arm appear to be navigable beyond seven miles 
above where I had crossed it. Towards the interior there was a 
mountain bearing N. n°E., eleven leagues distant; and so far the 
country was low, grassy, and very slightly covered with wood, pre- 
senting great facility to a traveller desirous of penetrating inland. 

I left the ship's name on a scroll of paper, deposited in a small 
pile of stones upon the top of the peak ; and at three in the after- 
noon reached the tent, much fatigued, having walked more than 
twenty miles without finding a drop of water. Mr. Lacy, the mid- 
shipman of the boat, had observed the latitude at the tent from an 
artificial horizon to be 38 a' 22"; and Station Peak bore from thence 
N.47 # W. 

In the evening we rowed back to Indented Head, and landed 
there soon after dark. Fires had been seen moving along the shore, 
but the people seemed to have fled ; though we found two newly 

Digitized by 


Pbrt Phillip.] TERRA AUSTRALIA v 21T 

erected huts with fires in them, and utensils which must have isos. 
m belonged to some of the people before seen, since there was boiled Saturday l, 
rice in one of the baskets. We took up our quarters here for the 
night, keeping a good watch; but nothing was seen of the Indians 
till we pushed off from the shore in the morning, when seven Sundays, 
showed themselves upon a hill behind the huts. They ran down to 
examine their habitations, and finding every thing as they had left 
it, a little water excepted of which we were in want, they seemed 
satisfied ; and for a short time three of them followed the boat. 

Along the north-east and east sides of Indented Head, I found 
the water to be shoal for nearly a mile off; but on approaching the 
entrance of what Mr. Murray called Swan Harbouf , but which I 
have taken the liberty of converting into Swan Pond, it became 
somewhat deeper. Seeing swans there, I rowed into it after them, 
but found the place full of mud banks, and seldom more than three or 
four feet in depth. Three of the birds were caught ; and at the south 
side of the entrance, upon the sandy peninsula, or island as it is 
when the tide is in, I shot some delicate teal, and found fresh water 
in small ponds. 

The ship was lying about three miles within the mouth of the 
port, near to the south shore ; and after I had taken bearings at two 
stations on the sandy peninsula, we steered a straight course for her, 
sounding all the way. It appeared that there was a passage up the 
port of a mile wide, between the middle banks and the western 
shore, with a depth in it from $ to 4t fathoms. Olf the western ex- 
tremity of the banks I had z± fathoms, and afterwards 5, 7, 4, 7, 8, 
9, 9 to the ship. 

Lieutenant Fowler had had a good deal of difficulty in getting 
back to the entrance of the port ; owing in part to the western 
winds, and partly from the shoals, which do not seem to lie in any 
regular order. He had touched upon one of these, where there 
was ten feet on one side of the ship, and on the other, 5 fathoms. 
This seems to have been a more eastern part of the same shoal upon 

Digitized by 


218 A VOYAGE TO [South Coo* 

1809. which we had before grounded; but no danger is to be feared from 
Sunday % these banks to a flat-floored ship. 

I find it very difficult to speak in general terms of Port Phillip. 
On the one hand it is capable of receiving and sheltering a larger 
fleet of ships than ever yet went to sea ; whilst on the other, the 
entrance, in its whole width, is scarcely two miles, and nearly half 
of it is occupied by the rocks lying off Point Nepean, and by shoals 
on the opposite side. The depth in the remaining part varies from 
6 to is fathoms ; and this irregularity causes the strong tides, espe- 
cially when running against the wind, to make breakers, in which 
small vessels should be careful of engaging themselves ; and when 
a ship has passed the entrance, the middle shoals are a great obstacle 
to a free passage up the port. These shoals are met with at four 
miles directly from the entrance, and extend about ten miles to the 
east-south-east, parallel with the south shore; they do not seem, 
however, to be one connected mass, for I believe there are two or 
three deep openings in them, though we had not time to make an 

No runs of fresh water were seen in my excursions ; but Mr, 
Charles Grimes, surveyor-general of New South Wales, afterwards 
found several, and in particular, a small river falling into the northern 
head of the port. Mr. Grimes was sent by governor King, in 1803, 
to walk round, and survey the harbour ; and from his plan I have 
completed my chart of Port Phillip. The parts of the coast left 
unshaded are Bbrrowed from him, and the soundings written at 
right angles are those of his companion, lieutenant Robbins. 

The country surrounding Port Phillip has a pleasing, and in 
many parts a fertile appearance ; and the sides of some of the hills 
and several of the vallies, are fit for agricultural purposes. It is in 
great measure a grassy country, and capable of supporting much 
cattle, though better calculated for sheep. To this general descrip- 
tion there are probably several exceptions ; and the southern penin- 
sula, which is terminated by Point Nepean, forms one, the surface 

Digitized by 



there being mostly sandy, and the vegetation in many places, little i*>2. 
better than brush- wood. Indented Head, at the northern part of the 
western peninsula, had an appearance particularly agreeable ; the 
grass had been burned not long before, and had sprung up green 
and tender ; the wood was so thinly scattered that one might see to 
a considerable distance ; and the hills rose one over the other to a 
moderate elevation, but so gently, that a plough might every where 
be used. The vegetable soil is a little mixed with sand, but good, 
though probably not deep, as I judged by the small size of the trees. 
The most common kinds of wood are the casuarina and 
eucalyptus , to which Mr. Grimes adds the banksia, mimosa, and some 
others ; but the timber is rarely sound, and is not large. 

Were a settlement to be made at Port Phillip, as doubtless 
there will be some time hereafter, the entrance could be easily 
defended ; and it would not he difficult to establish a friendly inter- 
course with the natives, for they are acquainted with the effect of fire 
arms, and desirous of possessing many of our conveniences. I thought 
them more muscular than the men of King George's Sound ; * but, 
generally speaking, they differ in no essential particular from the 
other inhabitants of the South and East Coasts, except in lar^guage, 
which is dissimilar, if not altogether different to that of Port Jack- 
son, and seemingly of King George's Sound also. I am not certain 
whether they have canoes, but none were seen. 

In the woods are the kanguroo, the emu or cassowary, paro- 
quets, and a variety of small birds ; the mud banks are frequented 
by ducks and some black swans, and the shores by the usual sea 
fowl common in New South Wales. The raiige of the thermometer 
was between 6i° and 67° ; and the climate appeared to be as good 
and as agreeable as could well be desired in the month answering 
to November. In 1803, colonel Collins of the marines was sent out 
from England to make a new settlement in this country ; but he 
quitted Port Phillip for the south end of Van Diemen's Land, pro- 

Digitized by 


320 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

1802. bably from not finding fresh water for a colony sufficiently near to 
y# the entrance. 

Point Nepean is in latitude 38 18' south. The longitude from 
twelve sets of distances taken by lieutenant Flinders in the port, and 
six others by me ten days before arriving, the particulars of which 
are given in Table V. of the Appendix to this volume, is 144 30^' 
east ; but these observations being mostly on one side of the moon, 
the corrected longitude by^ime keepers, 144 38' east, is preferred. 

No observations were taken in the port for the variation of the 
compass; but at seven leagues to the south-south-west of Point 
Nepean, azimuths gave 3 41' when the ship's head was at N.E. by 
E. £ E., and an amplitude at N. N. E. \ E., 6° 48' east. The mean 
of these, corrected to the meridian, will be 7 30 1 , or half a degree 
less than at King's Island ; I therefore take the variation in Port 
Phillip to have been generally, 7 , though at some stations it seemed 
to have been no more than 6° 30' east. 

The rise of tide is inconsiderable in the upper parts of the 
port ; near the entrance it is from three to six feet. By the swing- 
ing of the ship, which however varied at different anchorages, 
it appeared to be high water two hours and a half after the moon's 
passage ; but at Point Nepean, the time of high water by the shore 
is said by Mr. Grimes to be only one hour after the moon. At Western 
Port, Mr. Bass found high water to take place half an hour after 
the moon's passage, and the tide to rise from ten to fourteen feet.' 
This great increase, in a place so near, seems extraordinary ; but 
may perhaps be accounted for by the meeting of the tides from two 
entrances, whilst Port Phillip has only one, and that very narrow, 

Digitized by 


Bats' Strait.} TERRA AUSTRALIA 821 


Departure from Port Phillip. Cape Schanck. Wilson's Promontory •, and 
its isles. Kent's Groups^ and Furneaux's Isles. Hills behind the Long 
Beach. Arrival at Port Jackson. Health of the ship's company. 
Refitment and supply of the ship. Price of provisions. Volunteers 
entered. Arrangement for the succeeding part of the voyage. French 
ships. Astronomical and nautical observations. 

On the 3d of May at daylight, the anchor was weighed to go out isos. 

of Port Phillip with the last half of the ebb ; and the wind being MoSy s. 

from the westward, we backed, filled, and tacked occasionally, 

dropping out with the tide. When the entrance was cleared, and 

five miles distant, Mr. Westall took a view of it, which will be an piaLxviT, 

useful assistance in finding this extensive, but obscure port ; and at View 13# ) 

eleven o'clock, when we bore away eastward to pass Cape Schanck, 

he sketched that cape and the ridge of hills terminating at Arthur's (view u.) 

Seat. Cape Schanck is a cliffy head, with thfee rocks lying off, the 

outermost of which appears at a distance like a ship under sail : the 

latitude is 38 29' or 30' south, and longitude 144 53' east. It will 

always be desirable for vessels to get sight of this cape, before they 

rim far into the great bight for Port Phillip; and if the wind blow 

strong from the southward, it will be unsafe to run without having 

seen it. 

Cape Schanck is also an excellent mark for ships desiring to 
go into Western Port, of which it forms the west side of the prin- 
cipal entrance ; but as there are many breakers and shoals on that 
side, which extend almost to mid-channel, it will Jbe necessary to 
give the cape a wide berth, by keeping over to Phillip Island oij the 
starbord hand. 
vol. 1. 3 I 

Digitized by 




[South Coast. 



Monday 3. 

At noon, Cape Schanck bore N. 36 W. five or six miles ; the 
breeze was fresh from the westward, with cloudy weather, and we 
steered for Point Grant, at the east side of the entrance into Western 
Port. There is a square-topped rock surrounded with a reef lying 
off the point ; but the Lady Nelson has passed between them, with 
3 fathoms water. On reaching within a mile of this reef, at one 
o'clock, I set 

C. Schancfc, distant 9 or iq miles, at - N. 85° W. 

A cliffy head up the entrance, distant 5 miles, N. 16 W. 

Sguare-topped rock, - - - - N. 85 E. 

Cape Wollamai, S. 8o£E. 

We then steered eastward along the south side of Phillip Island, 
and passed a needle-like rock, lying under the shore. Cape Wolla- 
mai is the east end of the island, and forms one side of the small, 
eastern entrance to the port ; and at three o'clock, when it bore N. 
14 E, five or six miles, its longitude was ascertained by means of 
the time keepers to be 145 9,5! east: the latitude deduced from 
bearings, is 38 33' south. Wollamai is the native name for a fish at 
Port Jackson, called sometimes by the settlers, light-horseman, from 
the bones of the head having some resemblance to a helmet ; and 
the form of this cape bearing *a likeness to the head of the fish, 
induced Mr. Bass to give it the name of Wollamai. 

We ran south-eastward along the shore, at the rate of six or 
seven knots, until sunset ; when a steep head, supposed to be the 
Cape Liptrap of Captain Grant, was seen through the haze, and our 
bearings of the land were, 

Cape Wollamai, distant six leagues, - N. 49 W. 

A low projection, distant seven miles, - N. si E. 

Cape Liptrap, - - - - S. 50 E. 

We soon afterwards hauled to the wind off shore, under treble- 
reefed top sails; and the gale increasing, with much swell from the 
south-westward, the close reefs were taken in. At midnight, tacked 
Tu»day 4. to the northward, and stood off and on till day break ; the wind 

Digitized by 


Bass' Strait.] TERRA AUSTRALIS 228 

being strong at west, and weather squally with rain. We then bore 1802. 
away for the land, which was seen to leeward ; and at seven, the Tuesday 4. 
bearings of the principal parts were as under : 

Land indistinct, apparently C. Liptrap, - N. 5 W. 

Wilson's Promontory, south extreme, - S. 85 E. 

A peaked I. (Rodondo of captain Grant), - S. 71 E. 
Besides Rodondo, which lies about six miles to the south-by- 
east of the promontory, I distinguished five or six less conspicuous 
isles, lying along the south and west sides of this remarkable head 
land : these are called Glennie's Isles. To the N. 88° E. from 
Rodondo, and distant about two leagues, was a small island which 
appears to have been one of Moncur's Isles ; and in steering south- 
eastward, we got sight of the Devil's Tower, and of the high island' 
and rocks named Sir Roger Curtis' Isles. These names were given 
by captain Grant in 1800; but he was not the discoverer of the 
places to which they are applied. They are all laid down upon my 
chart of 1799, on the authority of Mr. Bass; and when it is con- 
sidered that this enterprising man saw them from an open boat, in 
very bad weather, their relative positions to Wilson's Promontory 
will be thought surprisingly near the truth. Unfortunately the 
situation of the promontory itself, owing to some injury done to his 
quadrant, is considerably in error ; being twelve or fourteen miles 
wrong in latitude. A reef is mentioned by captain Grant, as lying 
to the southward between Rodondo and Moncur's Isles ; and a rock, 
level with the water, was seen in the same situation by the ships 
Cato and Castle of Good Hope, from which last it received the 
appropriate name of Crocodile Rock. This also was seen by Mr. 
Bass, and laid down in its relative situation ; but in the Investigator, 
I was not sufficiently near to get sight of this important danger. 

We continued to steer south-eastward, round all these islands, 
having a fresh gale at west-south-west with squally weather ; and 
at noon our situation was in 

Digitized by 


224 A VOYAGE TO ISauA Coast 

i8o*. Latitude observed, . - - - 89° 35 

xJSy 4. Longitude by time keepers, - 146 30 

Rodondo bore - - - N. 15 W. 

Sir R. Curtis' Island, the peak, dist. 7 miles, - N. 46 E. 
(The Devils Tower being nearly on with the north side.) 
Two pointed rocks, N. 57 and 62 E. 

Wilson's Promontory was no longer visible; but from the best 
bearings I had been able to obtain in such blowing weather, its 
south-eastern extremity lies in latitude 39 n£' south, and longitude 
14<P 34/ east. 

Not seeing any more islands to the southward from the mast head, 
we bore away east soon after noon, to make Kent's Groups; and before 
three o'clock they both came in sight, as did an island to the north- 
ward, which seems to have been one of the small cluster discovered 
by Mr. John Black, and named Hogan's Group. The longitude by 
time keepers at this time was 146 58' east, and the following bear- 
ings were taken r 

Sir R. Curtis' Island, the peak, - - N. 71* W. 
Hogan's highest Island, from the mast head, N. 5 E. 
Kent's large Group, south end of the eastern I. N. 70 E. 
Small Group, dist. 6 or 7 miles, hiding the 

north-west end of the large group, N. 53° to 45 E. 
In steering past the south sides of the two groups at the dis- 
tance of four to six miles, I was enabled to correct their positions ; 
and also that of the pyramid, which was set at S. 4^° E. ten miles 
at four o'clock. When these lands had been laid down in the 
Francis and Norfolk in 1798, it was without the assistance of a time 
keeper, and therefore liable to considerable errors in longitude. 

At five in the evening, I thought myself fortunate to get a 
sight of Furneaux's great island through the haze ; and also of a 
small, craggy isle which had been before fixed relatively to the inner 
Sister. To obtain the positions of these places by our time keepers, 

Digitized by 


Bass' Strait.} TERRA AUSTRALIA 225 

was to me an important object ; since they were connected with the ***• 
former survey of Furneaux's Islands and the north-eastern part of Tutaigr* 
Van Dieraen's Land. The bearings taken at five were, 

Furneaux's great L, hills on the west part, S. 48° E. 

Small craggy isle, - S. 6g E. 

Kent's large Group, extremes, - - N. f to 47 W. 

Small Group, the largest isle, - - - N. 77 W. 

A small rock, not seen before, N. 88 E. 

The hills upon Furneaux's great island, which I believe, but could 
not certainly ascertain to have been upon the westernmost point* 
will therefore lie very nearly S. 48 E., from the bluffsouth-west end 
of Kent's large Group, instead of S. 38° E., as before marked. This 
places the great island io' of longitude further east from the group, 
than was given by my run in the Francis during the night of Feb. 8, 

We passed to the northward of the small new rock at the dis- 
tance of three miles, and I judged it to lie four, or four-and-half 
leagues from the eastern side of Kent's large Group. No kind of 
danger was observed between them, but it was then nearly dark ; 
and the wind being fresh and favourable, and not having more than 
ten days provisions in the ship, I felt it necessary to leave this and 
some other parts of Bass' Strait to a future examination ; and we 
steered onward, east-north-east for Port Jackson. 

At daylight of the 5th, the course was altered more north- Wedne§<U. 
ward ; and at noon, land was seen from the mast head to the north- 
north-west, probably some of the hills at the back of the Long Beach, 
and distant not less than twenty leagues : our latitude was 38° 33' 
south, and longitude 149* 35* east. The wind had then moderated, 
and having shifted to north-west, we kept close up to make Cape 
Howe. At four, hove to and sounded, but no bottom could be had 
with 90 fathoms ; the land extended in patches from west-north- 
west distant twenty-five or more leagues, to near the Ram Head at 
north ; and consequently the hills at the back of the Long Beach 

Digitized by 


226 A VOYAGE TO [East Coast. 

1802* must be of considerable elevation, superior to any other land near 

Wednes. 5, the sea in the southern, or perhaps any part of New South Wales. 

Thursday 6. On the wind shifting to the east side of north, next day, I 

tacked to get in with the land ; being desirous of running near to as 

much of the coast, and correcting its longitude in our way to Port 

Jackson, as could be done without loss of time ; but at noon the 

v ' wind veered back, and our north-eastern course was resumed. The 

land could not then be further distant than nine or ten leagues ; but 

no part of it was in sight, nor from the dulness of the weather, 

could any observation be taken. 

After a squally night, the wind fixed at west-by-north ; and 
iHday 7. at daybreak of the 7th, the land was visible from west to north-west, 
(Atlas, and our course was parallel to it. At noon, the latitude was 36° 24* 
Plate viii.) ,5^1^ an( j longitude 151 16' east; Mount Dromedary was in 
sight bearing N. 85 W., and by the difference of longitude, was 
distant fifty-two miles : I estimate its highest southern part to lie in 
36° 19' south, and 150* n' east. The wind returned to the north- 
west in the afternoon, and we lost sight of the land ; but becoming 
fairer afterwards, and the southern current not having much strength, 
Saturdays, by four next day the heads of Port Jackson were in sight. At dusk 
the flag-staff upon the South Head bore west-south-west, and our 
distance from the shore was seven or eight miles. 

I tried to beat up for the port in the night, being sufficiently 

well acquainted to have run up in the dark, had the wind permitted ; 

Sunday 9. but we were still to leeward in the morning, and Mr. Westall made 

(Atlas, a good sketch of the entrance. At one o'clock we gained the heads, 


view i.) a pilot came on board, and soon after three the Investigator was 
anchored in Sydney Cove. 

There was not a single individual on board who was not upon 
deck working the ship into harbour ; and it may be averred, that the 
officers and crew were, generally speaking, in better health than cm 
the day we sailed from Spithead, and not in less good spirits. I have 
said nothing of the regulations observed after we made Cape Leeu* 

Digitized by V^jOOQIC 

Port Jackson] TERRA AUSTRALIA 227 

win ; they were little different from those adopted in the commence- *808 
ment of the voyage, and of which a strict attention to cleanliness, Sunday 9. 
and a free circulation of air in the messing and sleeping places 
formed the most essential parts. Several of the inhabitants of Port 
Jackson expressed themselves never to have been so strongly re- 
minded of England, as by the fresh colour of many amongst the 
Investigator's ship's company, 

So soon as the anchor was dropped, I went on shore to wait upon 
his Excellency Philip Gidley King, Esq., governor of New South 
Wales, and senior naval officer upon the station ; to whom I com- 
municated a general account of our discoveries and examinations 
upon the South Coast, and delivered the orders from the Admiralty 
and Secretary of State. These orders directed the governor to place 
the brig Lady Nelson under my command, and not to employ the 
Investigator on other service than that which was the object of the 
voyage ; and His Excellency was pleased to assure me, that every 
assistance in the power of the colony to render, should be given to 
forward a service so interesting to his government, and to himself. 
The Lady Nelson was then lying in Sydney Cove ; but her com- 
mander, lieutenant Grant, had requested permission to return to 
England, and had sailed six months before. 

Besides the Lady Nelson, there were in the port His Majesty's 
armed vessel Porpoise, the Speedy, south-whaler, and the Margaret 
privateer ; also the French national ship Le Naturaliste, commanded 
by captain Hamelin, to whom I communicated captain Baudin's in- 
tention of coming to Port Jackson so soon as the bad weather should 
set in. Le G6ographe's boat had been picked up in Bass' Strait by 
Mr. Campbell of the brig Harrington, and the officers and crew 
were at this time on board Le Naturaliste. 

The duties required to fit the ship for prosecuting the voyage 
with success being various and extensive, Cattle Point, on the east side 
of Sydney Cove, was assigned to us by the governor for carrying on 
some of our employments, whilst others were in progress on board the 

Digitized by 


228 A VOYAGE TO [Ea$t Coa$t. 

J802. ship and in the dockyard. On the morning after our arrival, we warped 
to a convenient situation near the point, and sent on shore the tents, 
the sail-makers and sails, and the cooper with all the empty casks. 
Next day the observatory was set up, and the time keepers and 
other astronomical instruments placed there under the care of lieu- 
tenant Flinders ; who, with Mr. Franklin his assistant, was to make 
the necessary observations and superintend the various duties carry- 
ing on at the same place ; and a small detachment of marines was 
landed for the protection of the tents. 

I had found the barricade of the quarter deck to stand so high, 
as to be not only an obstacle to beating to windward, but a great 
inconvenience to surveying the coast ; for when the wind was on the 
side next to the land, there were no means of taking bearings over 
it but by standing on the top of the binnacle ; or otherwise by re- 
moving the compass to different places, which I had found could not 
be done without materially changing the variation. These incon- 
veniences being stated to the governor, his permission was obtained 
to reduce it so low as that it might be overlooked in all cases ; and 
an order was given that four convict carpenters, and such other 
assistance from the dockyard should be furnished as was necessary. 
To supply the place of the cutter we had lost at the entrance 
of Spencer's Gulph, I contracted for a boat to be built after the 
model of that in which Mr. Bass made his long and adventurous 
expedition to the strait. It was twenty-eight feet seven inches in 
length over all, rather flat floored, head and stern alike, a keel 
somewhat curved, and the cut-water and stern post nearly upright ; 
it was fitted to row eight oars when requisite, but intended for 
six in common cases. The timbers were cut from the largest 
kind of banksia, which had been found more durable than mangrove ; 
and the planking was of cedar. This boat was constructed under the 
superintendance of Mr. Thomas Moore, master builder to the 
colony ; and proved, like her prototype, to be excellent in a sea, 
as well as for rowing and sailing in smooth water. The cost at 

Digitized by 


Fort Jackson.-] TERRA AUSTRALIA 22* 

Port Jackson was no more than £30. ; but this was owing to some 1802. 
of the materials being supplied from the public magazines. 7- 

Whilst these branches of our refitment were going on, a . 
thorough examination was made and survey taken of all the ship's 
stores ; as well for the purpose of sending away those unserviceable 
and replacing them with others so far as they could be 'obtained, as 
with a view to enable the warrant officers to pass their accounts and 
obtain their pay up to this time ; a precaution which the nature of our 
voyage rendered more peculiarly necessary. After the surveys were 
ended, the seamen were employed in stripping and re-rigging the 
masts, and preparing the hold to receive a fresh stock of provisions 
and water; the naturalist and his assistants, as also the two painters, 
made excursions into the interior of the country ; and my time was 
mostly occupied in constructing the fair charts of our discoveries 
and examinations upon the South Coast, for the purpose of their 
being transmitted to the secretary of the Admiralty. 

On the 4th of June, the ship was dressed with colours, a June, 
royal salute fired, and I went with the principal officers of the Inves- 
tigator to pay my respects to His Excellency the governor and cap- 
tain-general, in honour of His Majesty's birth day. On this occasion, 
a splendid dinner was given to the colony ; and the number of ladies 
and civil, military, and naval officers was not less than forty* who 
met to celebrate the birth of their beloved sovereign in this distant 
part of the earth. 

On the 6th, the Speedy, south-whaler, sailed for England. 
By Mr. Quested, the commander, I transmitted to the Admiralty an 
account of my proceedings upon the south coast of Terra Australis ; 
but the charts being unfinished, were obliged to be deferred to a 
future opportunity. To the Astronomer Royal I sent Arnold's 
time keepers, No. 82 and 176, which had stopped ; together with 
a statement of the principal astronomical observatjona hitherto made, 
and an account of Earnshaw's two time keepers, No. 543 and 520, 
which continued to perform well. 
vol. u 3 K 

Digitized by 


880 A VOYAGE TO [East tout. 

1802. Captain Baudin arrived in Le G£ographe on the aoth, and a 

"^ boat was sent from the Investigator to assist in towing the ship up 
to the cove. It was grievous to see the miserable condition, to which 
both officers and crew were reduced by scurvy ; there being not more 
out of one hundred and seventy, according to the commander's 
account, than twelve men capable of doing their duty. The sick 
were received into the colonial hospital ; and both French ships fur- 
nished with every thing in the power of the colony to supply. Be- 
fore their arrival, the necessity of augmenting the number of cattle 
in the country had prevented the governor from allowing us any 
fresh meat; but some oxen belonging to government were now killed 
for the distressed strangers ; and by returning an equal quantity of 
salt meat, which was exceedingly scarce at this time, I obtained a 
quarter of beef for my people. The distress of the French naviga- 
tors had indeed been great; but every means were used by the 
governor and the principal inhabitants of the colony, to make them 
forget both their sufferings and the war which existed between the 
two nations.* 
July, His Excellency, governor King, had done me the honour to 

visit the Investigator, and to accept of a dinner on board ; on which 
occasion he had been received with the marks of respect due to his 
rank of captain-general ; and shortly afterward, the captains Baudin 
and Hamelin, with monsieur Peron and some other French officers, 
as also colonel Paterson, the lieutenant governor, did me the same 
favour; when they were received under a salute of eleven guns. 
The intelligence of peace, which had just been received, contributed 
to enliven the party, and rendered our meeting more particularly 
agreeable. I showed to captain Baudin one of my charts of the 
South Coast, containing the part first explored by him, and distinctly 
marked as his discovery. He made no objection to the justice of 

• These liberal proceedings, which do so much honour to governor King and the 
colonists, are handsomely acknowledged by M. Peron in his account of the Frenck 

Digitized by 


Ptirt Jackson.] TERRA: AUSTRALIS. 281 

the limits therein pointed out ; but found his portion to be smaller isos* 
than he had supposed, not haying before been aware of the extent r# 

of the discoveries previously made by captain Grant. After examin- 
ing the chart, he said, apparently as a reason for not producing any 
of his own, that his charts were not constructed on board the ship ; 
but that he transmitted to Paris all his bearings and observations, 
with a regular series of views of the land, and from them the charts 
were to be made at a future time. This mode appeared to me 
extraordinary, and not to be worthy of imitation ; conceiving that a 
rough chart, at least, should be made whilst the land is in sight, 
when any error in bearing or observation can be corrected ; a plan 
which was adopted in the commencement, and followed throughout 
the course of my voyage. 

Amongst our employments was that of fitting up a green 
house on the quarter deck, and sawing plank to make boxes for the 
reception of such plants as might be found by the naturalist, and 
thought worthy of being transported to His Majesty's botanic garden 
at Kew. This green house had been received at Sheerness, and 
stowed away in pieces ; but I saw that when filled with boxes of 
earth, the upper works of the ship, naturally very weak, would be 
incapable of supporting the weight; and that in bad weather, we 
should be obliged to throw it over board for the safety of the ship, 
I therefore proposed its reduction to two-thirds of the size ; and 
Mr. Brown being of opinion it would then contain all the plants 
likely to be collected in any one absence from Port Jackson, it was 
reduced accordingly ; and the feet lowered down close to the deck. 
This arrangement required an alteration in the tiller, and a short 
one, with two arms, was fitted to the after part of the rudder head ; 
with which expedient, and leading the main braces forward, the 
green house was not likely to cause much inconvenience to the 
working of the ship. The plants already collected on the South 
Coast had been landed on our arrival, in good order ; and deposited 

Digitized by 


282 A VOYAGE TO [East Coast. 

1809. in the governor's garden until such time as, the objects of the voyage 
^ being completed, we should be ready to sail for England. 

The ship had never made more than three inches of water in 
an hour, after leaving the Cape of Good Hope ; so that much caulk- 
ing was not required, either within or out board. What was found 
necessary, was finished by the middle of July, at the same time 
with the barricading of the quarter deck ; and the masts being then 
new rigged, and holds nearly completed with water and provisions, 
the sails were bent and the ship was painted. On the s ist, the last bag 
of bread and turn of water were received, the new whale boat was 
brought off, and we dropped down the harbour ; being then ready* 
for going to sea next morning. 

In consequence of the directions given by His Majesty's prin- 
cipal secretary of state for the colonies, the Lady Nelson, a brig of 
sixty tons, commanded by acting-lieutenant John Murray, was 
placed under my orders, as a tender to the Investigator. This vessel 
was fitted with three sliding keels; and built after the plan of that 
ingenious officer commissioner ( now vice-admiral ) Schanck. When 
the sliding keels were up, the Lady Nelson drew no more than six 
feet water; and was therefore peculiarly adapted for going up rivers, 
or other shallow places which it might be dangerous, or impossible 
for the ship to enter. Mr. Murray's crew was mostly composed of 
convicts ; and having no officer in whom he could place entire con- 
fidence, I lent to him Mr. Denis Lacy, one of my young gentlemen 
acquainted with the management of a time keeper, to act as his 
chief mate. 

The price of fresh meat at Port Jackson was so exorbitant, 
that it was impossible to think of purchasing it on the public account. 
I obtained one quarter of beef for the ship's company, in exchange 
for salt meat, and the governor furnished us with some baskets of 
vegetables from his garden ; and in lieu of the daily pound of biscuit, 
each man received a pound and a quarter of soft bread, without any 

Digitized by 


Pbrt Jackson.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 233 

expense to government. But with these exceptions, I was obliged 1802.. 
to leave the refreshment of the people to their own individual exer- y# 

tions ; assisting them with the payment due for savings of bread 
since leaving the Cape of Good Hope, and the different artificers 
with the money earned by their extra services in refitting the ship. 
Fish are usually plentiful at Port Jackson in the summer, but not in 
the winter time ; and our duties were too numerous and indispens- 
able to admit of sending people away with the seine, when there 
was little prospect of success ; a few were, however, occasionally 
bought along-side, from boats which fished along the coast. 

In purchasing a sea stock for the cabin, I paid £3. a head for 
sheep, weighing from thirty to forty pounds when dressed. Pigs 
were bought at gd. per pound, weighed alive, geese at 10$. each, 
and fowls at 3$. ; and Indian corn for the stock cost 5s. a bushel. 

To complete the ship's provisious, I entered into a contract for 
30,000 pounds of biscuit, 8000 pounds of flour, and 156 bushels of 
kiln-dried wheat ; but in the mean time, the ship Coromandel brought 
out the greater part of the twelvemonths' provisions, for which I 
had applied on sailing from Spithead ; and the contractor was pre- 
vailed upon to annul that part of the agreement relating to flour and 
wheat. The biscuit cost 33$. per hundred pounds ; and considering 
that the colony was at short allowance, and that the French ships 
were to be supplied, it was a favourable price. From two American 
vessels which arrived, I purchased 1483 gallons of rum at 6s. 6d. 
per gallon ; which, with what remained of our former stock, was a 
proportion for twelve months. In other respects our provisions were 
completed from the quantity sent out from England; and the 
remaining part was lodged in the public stores, in charge of the 
commissary, until our return. 

In addition to the melancholy loss of eight officers and men, 
at the entrance of Spencer's Gulph, and the previous deficiency of * 

four in the complement, I found it necessary to discharge the man 
who had been bitten by a seal at Kanguroo Island, as also a marine, 

Digitized by 


234 A VOYAGE TO [;East Coast. 

1802. who was invalided ; so that fourteen men were required to complete 
my small ship's company, Mr. John Aken, chief mate of the ship 
Hercules, was engaged to fill the situation of master, and five men, 
mostly seamen, were entered ; but finding it impossible to fill up the 
complement with free people, I applied to the governor for his per- 
mission to enter such convicts as should present themselves, and could 
bring respectable recommendations. This request, as every other I 
had occasion to make to His Excellency, was complied with ; and 
when the requisite number was selected, he gave me an official docu- 
ment, containing clauses relative to these men, well calculated to 
insure their good conduct. As this document may be thought curious 
by many readers, it is here inserted ; premising, that the men therein 
mentioned, with the exception of two, were convicts for life. 

< ' By His Excellency Philip Gidley King, Esq., 

captain-general and governor in chief, in and 

over His Majesty's territory of New South 

Wales and its dependencies, &c, &c., &c. 

" Whereas captain Matthew Flinders, commander of His 

Majesty's ship Investigator, has requested permission to receive on 

board that ship the undermentioned convicts as seamen, to make up 

the number he is deficient. I do hereby grant 

Thomas Toney Thomas Martin Joseph Marlow 
Thomas Shirley Joseph Tuzo Richard Stephenson 

Thomas Smith Francis Smith Charles Brown 

permission to ship themselves on board His Majesty's ship Investi- 
gator ; and On the return of that ship to this port, according to cap- 
tain Flinders' recommendation of them, severally and individually, 
they will receive conditional emancipations or absolute pardons, as 
that officer may request. 

" And in the interim I do, by virtue of the power and authority 
in me vested, Grant a provisional-conditional emancipation to the 
said Thomas Toney, &c. ; for the purpose of their being enabled tt> 

Digitized by 


Part Jaekson.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 23£ 

serve on board His Majesty's said ship Investigator, whilst in the iJJ* 
neighbourhood of this territory ; which conditional emancipation will 
be of no effect, in case any of those named herein do individually 
conduct themselves so ill, as to put it out of captain Flinders' power 
to recommend them for a conditional or absolute pardon on his re* 
turn to this port. 

" Given under my hand and seal at government 
house Sydney, in New South Wales, this 15th 
day of July, in the year of our Lord 1802. 

( Signed ) Philip Gidley King, ( L. S. )" 

Several of these men were seamen, and all were able and 
healthy ; so that I considered them a great acquisition to our strength. 
With respect to themselves, the situation to which they were ad- 
mitted was most desirable ; since they had thereby a prospect of 
returning to their country, and that society from which they had 
been banished ; and judging from the number of candidates for the 
vacancies, such was the light in which a reception on board the 
Investigator was considered in the colony. When the master was 
entered, one of the men, being over the complement, was sent to 
. the Lady Nelson, with a reserve of the privilege above granted. 

I had before experienced much advantage from the presence 
of a native of Port Jackson, in bringing about a friendly intercourse 
with the inhabitants of other parts of the coast ; and on representing 
this to the governor, he authorised me to receive two on board. 
Bongaree, the worthy and brave fellow who had sailed with me in 
the Norfolk, now volunteered again ; the other was Nanbaree, a 
good-natured lad, of whom colonel Collins has made mention in his- 
Account of New South Wales. 

My instructions directed me to consult with governor King 
upon the best means of proceeding in the execution of the voyage ; 
they also pointed out my return to the South Coast, as the first step 
after refitting the ship at Port Jackson; but His Excellency was of 

Digitized by 


28« A VOYAGE TO [East Coast. 

1802. opinion, as well as myself, that it would be unsafe to do this in the 
middle of the winter season ; and that to remain six months in port 
waiting for the fine weather would be a sad waste of time ; I had, 
besides, left very little of importance to be examined upon the South 
Coast, a circumstance which the instructions had not contemplated. 
Upon all these considerations, it was decided to proceed to the north- 
ward, — examine Torres' Strait and the east side of the Gulph of Car- 
pentaria before the north-west monsoon should set in, — proceed as I 
might be able during its continuance, — and afterwards explore the 
North and North-west Coasts ; returning to Port Jackson when, and 
by such route as might be found most advisable, and conducive to the 
general purposes of the voyage. 

It was probable that the north-west monsoon would not set in 
before the beginning of November; I therefore intended to examine 
such parts of the east coast -of New South Wales in my way to the 
northward, as had been passed by captain Cook in the night, and 
were not seen in my expedition with the Norfolk sloop in 1799. The 
openings of Keppel and Shoal-water Bays, and the still larger of 
Broad Soynd, I was also anxious to explore ; in the hope of finding 
a river falling into some one of them, capable of admitting the Lady 
Nelson into the interior of the country. These desirable objects I 
expected to accomplish before the approach of the monsoon would 
call me into the Gulph of Carpentaria. 

The French ships were in no forwardness for sailing ; and 
it was understood that captain Baudin intended sending back Le 
Naturaliste to France, by the way of Bass' Strait, so soon as the 
season should be favourable. He had purchased a small vessel of 
between thirty and forty tons at Sydney, to serve him as a tender ; and 
he told me that we should probably meet in the Gulph of Carpentaria 
in December or January. I understood that he meant to return to 
the South Coast, and after completing its examination, to proceed 
northward, and enter the Gulph with the north-west monsoon ; but 
it appeared to me very probable, that the western winds on the South 

Digitized by 


Port Jackson.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 237 

Coast would detain him too long to admit of reaching the Gulph of isos- 
Carpentaria at the time specified, or at any time before the south- 
east monsoon would set in against him. 

Before leaving Sydney Cove, I placed in the hands of governor 
King two copies of my chart of the south coast of Terra Australis, 
in six sheets ; with three other sheets of particular parts, on a large 
scale. One copy I requested him to send with my letters to the 
secretary of the Admiralty, by the first good opportunity that 
offered ; the other was to remain in his hands until my return, or 
until he should hear of the loss of the Investigator, when it was also 
to be sent to the Admiralty. 

During our stay of twelve weeks at Port Jackson, there were 
not many days favourable to our pursuits at the observatory, the 
weather being dull and rainy for the greater part of the time ; by 
watching all opportunities however, a sufficient number of obser- 
vations were obtained to show the rates of the time keepers, and to 
answer the purposes of geography and navigation 
The Latitude of Cattle Point, from thirty meri- 
dian altitudes in an artificial horizon, of 
which fourteen were taken by Mr. Crosley 
and seven by me in 1795, and nine by lieu- 
tenant Flinders at this time, is - 33° 51' 45^,6 S. 
Longitude from forty-four sets of distances 
of the sun and moon, of which the individual 
results are given in Table VI of the Appen- 
dix to this volume, - ~ - 151 1V49 E.* 

•In 1795 and 1796 I took sixty sets of distances upon Cattle Point, an equal 
number on each side, which gave the longitude 151 17' 12* ; but these observations 
not having been calculated with great nicety, nor corrected for the errors of the lunar 
and solar tables, the result is not considered to be of equal authority with that given 
above. The present admiral D'Espinosa, when an officer in the voyage of Malaspina, 
observed an eclipse of the sun at Port Jackson, and occultations of the first 
and second satellites of Jupiter, from which he deduces the longitude ofthetownof 

VOL. I. gL 

Digitized by 


288 . A VOYAGE TO [Eait Coast. 

1802. This position of Cattle Point, being reduced to the entrance of 

y * Port Jackson, will be for the . 

Flag staff on the south head, latitude 33* 51^' south, 

longitude 151 i6£ east. 
Ramsden's universal theodolite was set up at the observatory, 
and intended to be used as a transit instrument; but from the 
unfavourable state of the weather and my numerous occupations, it 
was not adjusted to the meridian ; and the rates of the time keepers 
were therefore deduced from equal altitudes, taken with a sextant 
and artificial horizon in the usual way. Their errors from mean 
Greenwich time, at noon there July 18, and the mean rates of going 
in the last fifteen days, which were selected as the best, were as 
under : 

Earnshaw's No. 543, slow o h 16' 39 #/ ,7« and losing 8",63 per day. 
520, - 1 18 53,00 - - - 19,52 
The longitude of Cattle Point, given by the time keepers with 
the Kanguroo-Island rates on May 10th, the first day of observation 
after our arrival, was by No. 543 - 151* 31' 21" 

520 - 151 26 49 east. 
The mean is 17' 16" more than deduced from the lunar observations; 
and when rates are used equally accelerating from those at Kan- 
guroo Island, to what were found on first arriving at Port Jackson, 
the longitude by the time keepers would still be 14' 57",4 to the east ; 
so that they appear to have gone less regularly during this passage 
than before. In fixing the longitudes of places between the two 
stations, the time keepers with their accelerated rates have been 
used; and the error of 14' 57",4 has been corrected by quantities 
proportionate to the times of observation, between April 6 at Kan- 
guroo Island, and May 9 at Port Jackson. 

The mean dip of the south end of the needle at 

Cattle Point was - - - 62*5*' 

Sydney to be 151° 12? 45" east of Greenwich; not differing more than a minute of lon- 
gitude from the above forty-four sets of corrected lunar observations. 

Digitized by 


Pert Jackson.} TERRA AUSTRALIA 289 

Variation of the compass, observed by lieutenant i*». 


Flinders on Garden Island in the following 
year, - - - 8 # 51' east. 

No remarks were made at this time upon the tide ; but it is 
known to be high water in Port Jackson about eight hours and a quar- 
ter after the moon's passage over and under the meridian ; and the 
usual rise to be between four and six or seven feet. When high 
water takes place between three or four in the afternoon and one or 
two in the morning, it rises from six to eighteen inches higher than 
the preceding flood ; and the following ebb descends a few inches 
lower than that which preceded the high tide. 

The range of the thermometer on board the ship, was from 
5i°to 6q*; and nearly the same on shore. The mercury in the 
barometer stood from 29,60 to 30,36 inches ; but it was remarkable 
that it stood lowest in the fine weather, when the wind came from 
the westward off the land, and was highest in the rainy, squally 
weather, with the wind from the sea. According to the information 
communicated by colonel W. Paterson, F.R.S., commander of the 
troops at Port Jacksop, this relation between the mercury and the 
weather was general here in the winter season, when the eastern 
winds bring rain with them ; and I had frequent occasion to remark 
upon the South Coast, that sea winds raised the mercury in the 
barometer, whilst those from the land, even with fine weather, 
caused it to descend. 

Digitized by 


240 A VOYAGE TO {South Coast. 


Of the winds and currents on the south coast of Terra Australis, and in 
Bass' Strait. Usual progress of the gales. Proper seasons for sailing 
eastward, and for going westward: best places of shelter in each case, 
with some instructions for the Strait. 

JDefore entering upon the second part of the voyage, it seems 
proper to give an account of the winds and currents which prevailed 
upon the South Coast; and to add thereto such other general in- 
formation as may be useful in rendering the navigation more safe 
and expeditious, both along the coast and through Bass' Strait. 

The rate and direction of the currents here described, are 
deduced from the daily positions of the ship by astronomical observ- 
ation, compared with those given by a log kept in the common way, 
but with somewhat more than common attention. In the observa- 
tions, however, there may be some errors, and a log cannot be 
depended upon nearer than to five miles in the distance, and half a 
point in the course for the twenty-four hours ; and consequently this 
account of the currents must be taken as subject to the sum, or to the 
difference of the errors in the observations and log; though it is 
probable they may have been diminished by taking the medium of 
several days, which has always been done where it was possible. 

Besides the difficulty there is in obtaining the exact rate and 
direction of a current, it is known that a continuance of the wind in 
any particular quarter may so far change its rate of moving, and 
even its direction, that at another time it may be found materially 
different in both. Of the probability of these changes the com- 
mander of a ship must form his own judgment, from the winds he 

Digitized by 


Winds and currents.] TERRA AUSTRALIS. 241 

may have previously experienced ; and he will consider what is here 
said upon both winds and currents, as calculated and intended to give 
him a general notion, and no more, of what may usually be expected 
upon the South Coast. 

Several days before making Cape Leeuwin, I experienced a (Atlas, 
current setting to the northward, at the rate of twenty-seven miles 
per day; but at the mean distance of forty leagues, west-south-west 
from the cape, the current ran north-east, twenty-two miles ; and 
when the ship got in with the South Coast, I found it setting N. 70 E., 
at the average rate of twenty-seven miles per day : this was in the 
month of December. On approaching Cape Leeuwin in May, from 
the north-westward, the current for five days was ten miles to the 
east ; but at forty leagues from the cape, it rah N. 35 E. fifteen 
miles ; and from the meridian of the cape to past King George's 
Sound, the current set east, twenty-seven miles per day, nearly as it 
had before done in December. Captain Vancouver and admiral D'En- 
trecasteaux do not speak very explicitly as to the currents ; but it 
may be gathered from both, that they also experienced a set to the 
eastward along this part of the South Coast. 

The winds seem to blow pretty generally from the westward 
at Cape Leeuwin. In the summer time, they vary from north- 
west in the night, to south-west ih the latter part of the day, though 
not regularly; and in the winter season this variation does not seem 
to take place. A long swell of the sea, called ground swell to 
distinguish it from the lesser, variable one of the surface, appears to 
come at all times from the south-westward, which indicates that the 
strongest and most-durable winds blow from that quarter ; and this 
was partly confirmed by our experience, for whenever it blew hard, 
the wind was at, or near to south-west. 

It is from the superior strength and apparent prevalence of 
this wind, that the currents in the neighbourhood of Cape Leeuwin 
may be explained. The sea being driven in from the south-west, 
and meeting with the cape, will necessarily be divided by it, and 

Digitized by 


242 A VOYAGE TO {South Coast 

form two currents, which will follow the directions of the land; one 
branch will run northward, along the west coast of Terra Australis, 
and the other eastward along the South Coast: our present busi- 
ness is to follow the latter current. 

If a line be drawn from the south-western extremity of New 
Holland, to King's Island in Bass' Strait, it will show where the 
current may be expected to run strongest ; though it will not be 
equally strong at those parts of the line which are distant from the 
land, as at those in its immediate vicinity. In drawing another line, 
from the north-eastern isles of the Archipelago of the Recherche to 
Cape Northumberland, we shall have what will commonly be the 
northern boundary of the current; for within this line the water 
does not seem to run in any constant direction, but is moved accord- 
ing as the wind may happen to blow. This was found by admiral 
D'Entrecasteaux ; and is conformable to my experience, as I shall 
now explain. 

It has been said, that the eastwardly current was found in May 
and December to run twenty-seven miles per day, from Cape Leeu- 
win past King George's Sound. From thence to a little beyond the 
Archipelago of the Recherche, keeping in with the shore, I found it 
to set north-east thirteen miles ; and at a distance from the coast, it 
ran north-east-by-east sixteen miles per day, the wind being more 
from the south than from the northward in both cases. 

In coasting from the Archipelago, all round the Great Bight 
and as far south-eastward as to Cape Northumberland, I had no 
determinate current ; it generally followed the impulsion given to it 
by the winds, and was inconsiderable. From the middle of January 
to the middle of April, the winds were most prevalent from south- 
south-east to east-north-east ; coming more from the land at night, 
and from the sea in the day time. They seldom had any strength ; 
whereas the winds which occasionally blew from the westward were 
fresh, and sometimes became gales, veering in that case, invariably 
to the south-west. 

Digitized by 


Winds and currents..] TERRA AUSTRALIA 243 

On reaching Cape Northumberland I again found the east- 
wardly current ; and from thence into Bass' Strait it ran N. 8o a E., at 
the rate of twelve miles a day, the wind blowing strong from the 
south-westward in the latter part of the time. 

In a subsequent run across the Great Bight in May, from the 
Archipelago nearly direct for Bass* Strait, the current set upon the 
average, N. 39 E. fourteen miles a day; appearing to be much in- 
fluenced in its northern direction by the winds blowing strong 
from the southward. Mr. Dairy mple, in reasoning from the ana- 
logy of southern Africa, expected that the winds upon this coast 
would be found to blow from the northward, or ofFthe shore, in the 
winter time, and this might possibly be the case if close in with the 
land ; but at a distance from- it, as just observed, the winds were from 
the southward. 

Such "an accumulation of water forcing itself through Bass' 
Strait, would naturally lead to the expectation of finding a strong 
current there, setting to the east ; but on the contrary, the set in 
common cases was found to be rather in the opposite direction, the 
current appearing to be predominated by the tides, whose superior 
strength forced it below the surface. The flood comes from the 
eastward ; and after making high water at Furneaux's Isles, passes 
on to Hunter's and King's Islands, where it meets another flood 
from the southward ; and the high water then made seems to be 
nearly at the time that it is low water at Furneaux's Isles. Another 
flood is then coming from the east, and so on ; whence a ship going 
eastward through the Strait, will have more tide meeting than setting 
after her, and be commonly astern of her reckoning. This applies 
more especially to the middle of the strait, and is what I there found 
with winds blowing across it ; but the bight on the north side, be- 
tween Cape Otway and Wilson's Promontory, seems to be an excep- 
tion, and in fact, it lies out of the direct set of the tides. In running 
from Port Phillip to the Promontory I was set S. 73* E., thirty-five 

Digitized by 


244 . A VOYAGE TO [South Coa$L 

miles in the day ; but it then blew a gale from the west and south- 

Although the eastwardly current be not commonly found at 
the surface in Bass' Strait, it is not lost. Navigators find it running 
with considerable strength, when passing the strait two or three de- 
grees to the east of Furneaux's Islands ; and it was this current so 
found, which led admiral Hunter to the first opinion of the existence 
of an opening between New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. 

Every thing in Bass' Strait bespeaks the strongest winds to 
come from the ^outh-west ; and there is reason to believe that dur- 
ing nine months of the year, it generally blows from some point in 
the western quarter. In January, February, and March, eastern 
winds with fine weather seem to be not uncommon ; but there is no 
dependence to be had on them at any other season. At the eastern 
side of the strait and of Van Diemen's Land, it is not unusual to meet 
a north-east or north wind, though it seldom blows strong. The 
gales usually come from between south-west and south-east, and 
most frequently from the latter direction ; which renders it hazardous 
to approach the coast between Cape Howeand Wilson's Promontory. 

Thus, speaking generally of the south coast of Terra Australis, 
it may be considered that during the six or eight winter months, the 
winds blow almost constantly from some western point ; and that 
gales of wind at south-west are frequent. The progress of the gales 
is usually this : the barometer falls to 39^ inches, or lower, and the 
wind rises from the north-westward with thick weather, and com- 
monly with rain; it veers gradually to the west, increasing in strength, 
and the weather begins to clear up so soon as it has got to the 
southward of that point ; at south-west the gale blows hardest, 
and the barometer rises; and by the time the wind gets to south 
or south-south-east, it becomes moderate, the weather is fine, 
and the barometer above 30 inches. Sometimes the wind may 
return back to west, or something northward, with a fall in the 

Digitized by 


Winds and currents.] TERRA AUSTRALIA 24$ 

mercury, and diminish in strength, or die away ; but the gale is 
not over, although a cessation of a day or two may take place. In 
some cases, the wind flies round suddenly from north-west to 
south-west ; and the rainy, thick weather then continues a longer 

Such is the usual course of the gales along the South Coast 
and in Bass' Strait ; but on the east side of the strait the winds par- 
take of the nature of those on the East Coast, where the gale often 
blows hardest between south and south-east, and is accompanied . 
with thick weather, and frequently with heavy rain. 

In the four or five summer months, the south-east and east 
winds appear to be most prevalent all round the Great Bight ; but 
even there, the western winds sometimes blow at that time, and 
usually with considerable strength. Thus I had a strong south-, 
west wind in the middle of February, near the Investigator's Group, 
and a gale from the same quarter in March, at the entrance of 
Spencer's Gulph ; which last was felt still more severely in Bass' 
Strait by captain Baudin. At the two extremities of the coast, that 
is, in the strait and near King George's Sound, the winds blow 
Sometimes from the west and sometimes from the eastward, in the 
summer ; but the strongest winds are from the south-west. 

It will hence appear, that the summer is alone the proper time 
for a ship to come upon, and still more so for exploring the south 
coast of Terra Australis ; whether she proceed along it from west 
to east, as I did in the Investigator, or from east to west, as captain 
Baudin, seems to be almost a matter of indifference. From Cape. 
Leeuwin to the end of the Archipelago of the Recherche, and from 
Cape Northumberland to Bass' Strait, it is perhaps most advanta^ 
geous to proceed eastward, on account of the current ; but in the in-> 
termediate and more considerable part of the coast, a western route 
is certainly preferable. It has also this general advantage, that the 
winds which are fair for running along the coast are those that 
blow moderately, and are accompanied with fine weather, mqst 
vol. i. 3 M 

Digitized by 


W6 A VOYAGE TO [South Cm* 

proper for making a survey; whereas those favourable to the oppo- 
site route frequently blow strong, and render it dangerous to keep in 
with the land. As to making a survey of the South Coast in the 
winter season, which had been judged from theoretical analogy to 
be the most proper time, it appears to be not only a dangerous ex- 
periment, but also one from which very little accuracy of investiga-. 
tion could be expected ; and with as much ardour as most men 
for such pursuits, I should very unwillingly undertake the task. 

These observations upon the danger of sailing along the South 
Coast in the winter season, are not meant to apply to the commander 
of a ship desirous of going eastward through Bass' Strait, and of 
seeing no more of the land than is necessary to assure his situation. 
The strait may be passed without more than very common danger, 
at any time of the year, provided that the navigator be certain of his 
latitude before approaching the longitude of 143^ ; he should not, 
however, enter the strait in the night, unless he have previously 
seen the land, or be certain both of latitude and longitude. The 
parallel of 39*, or 39° ao', according as the wind may incline, is 
the best for taking a ship between King's Island aftd Cape Otway ; 
and a sight of either, or preferably of both, will point out his position 
on the chart. The sole danger to be apprehended here, is the Har- 
binger's Reefs, two patches lying nearly two leagues out from the 
north end of King's Island ; but are so far separated from it, and 
from each other, as to leave practicable passages between them, 
where the shoalest water found by the Cumberland schooner was 
9 fathoms. 
JAtk* v When the position of the ship at the entrance of the strait is 

ascertained, a course should be shaped for Curtis' Island, which will 
be visible ten or eleven leagues from the deck in fine weather ; and 
as the distance is between forty and fifty leagues, and nothing lies 
in the way, a part of it may be run in the night, with a good look-out, 
I would afterwards pass on the south side of Kent's Groups, at not 
a greater distance from the largest than two leagues ; and then steer 

Plate VI.) 

Digitized by 


Sailing directions.'] TERRA AUSTRALIA ftff 

east-north-east by compass, if nearly before the wind, or on either 
side of that course as the wind may incline ; but taking care not to 
approach the northern Long Beach. 

In case of meeting with a continuance of foul winds, the most 
convenient places in the strait for anchorage, when going eastward, 
are these: 

ist. Under the north-west end of King's Island, near the New 
Year's Isles. Of this anchorage I know only, besides what is given 
in the chart, that the brig Harrington there rode out a gale from 
south-west, the heavy sea being broken off by the New Year's Isles ; 
and the shelter from eastern winds must certainly be much more 

and. Port Phillip ; anchoring just within the entrance, on the 
south side. When a fair wind comes, a ship can get out of the port 
by means of the strong tides. 

3rd. JHunter's Isles, between Three-hummock and Barren 
Islands ; taking care not to anchor too close to the weather shore, 
lest the wind change suddenly. 

4th. The bight between Wilson'? Promontory and Cape Lip- 
trap, in case of necessity ; but I would not recommend this place, it 
being very dangerous should the wind shift to south-west. 

5th. Kent's large Group for brigs and lesser vessels ; in one of 
the small sandy coves under the eastern island. 

6th. Furneaux's Isles, between Clarke's and Preservation Islands. 
If the ship be not able to Weather Clarke's Island, and pass out to the 
south-eastward when the fair wind comes, she may run through 
Armstrong's Channel, with a boat a-head and a good look-out. 

This is all that it seems necessary to say for the information of 
a commander desirous of going eastward through Bass' Strait; and 
with the chart in the Atlas, ( Plate VI. ), it is all that a man of mode- 
rate experience and judgment will desire. I have not mentioned (he 
entrance to the strait between King's Island and Hunter's Isles, 
thinking it not to be recommendable ; both on account of Rent s Rocks, 

Digitized by 


248 A VOYAGE TO [South Coast 

which lie in the passage, and whose position is not* well ascertained, 
and also because I am not satisfied that Hunter's Isles are placed in 
the chart at their true distance from King's Island : the difference of 
longitude is from an approximation only ; but the error, if any, can- 
not exceed eight or ten miles, and is in excess. However, with 
daylight and a good look-out, the strait may be safely entered by 
this pass, at any time that a ship can carry sail upon a wind. I en- 
tered this way in the Investigator, during the night ; but what a ship 
on discovery may do is not to be given as an example to others, 
whose sole objects are expedition and safety. The outlet by the 
pass called Banks' Strait, between Furneaux's Islands and Cape 
Portland, is perfectly safe ; but is out of the way for a ship bound to 
Port Jackson. 

It has been observed that the winds are commonly favourable 
for making a passage to the westward, through Bass' Strait and along 
the South Coast, in the months of January, February, and March. 
I have no personal experience of such a passage, further than through 
the strait, though it has lately been made several times ; but to those 
who may be desirous of doing the same, and are strangers to these 
parts, the following observations may be acceptable. 

The first remark is, that the three months when this passage 
is most easy to be made, are precisely those in which it is unsafe, if 
not impracticable to go through Torres' Strait ; and the second, that 
it will generally be of no avail for a ship to be in Bass' Strait before 
the middle of December, and if it be the middle of January it will be 

Ships coming from Port Jackson, or any where from the north- 
eastward, may take a departure from Cape Howe in 37 goj' south 
and 150° 5' east; but from thence, they should not steer a course 
more westward than south-southrwest by compass, until in latitude 
89° 30' ; on account of the danger to be apprehended from south- 
east winds upon the Long Beach. Having reached 39° 30' they 
should steer a true west course, or west-by-south by compass, leaving 

Digitized by 


Sailing directions.*] TERRA AUSTRALIA 249 

the Sisters, the craggy islet, and a rock, on the larbord hand. The 
eastern island of Kent's large Group, which lies in 39 30' south, 
147 19' east, and may be seen ten, or perhaps twelve leagues from the 
deck in fine weather, will come in sight a-head ; and in passing 
three or four miles on the south side, the small western group will 
be seen, and is to be passed in the same way ; as are Curtis' peaked 
Isles, which will then be in sight. From Curtis' Isles to the north 
end of King's Island, the course is nearly true west, and distance 
about forty-two leagues, with nothing in the way ; but it is better to 
steer five or six leagues to the north of King's Island, if the winds 
permit. Should they hang to the westward of north, the course 
may be safely directed for Three-hummock Island ; passing after- 
wards to the north or south of King's Island, as the winds may be 
most favourable. 

In the case of foul winds, which, if the weather be thick or 
rainy, may be expected to fix at south-west and blow strong, there 
arfe many places where a ship may anchor, to wait a change ; but 
the following appear to be the most convenient. 

1st. Hamilton's Road, at the east end of Preservation Island. 

2nd. On the south side of the largest Swan Isle, for small 
vessels, or under Isle Waterhouse. 

3rd. Port Dalrymple. 

4th. Various places amongst Hunter's Isles. 

5th. Sea-elephant Bay, on the east side of King's Island, where 
there is fresh water ; or under the north-east end of that island, if 
the wind be from south-west. 

6th. Western Port, under Phillip Island ; anchoring so soon 
as the ship is sheltered. A fair wind for going onward through the 
strait, will talf e a ship out of this port. 

7th. Port Phillip. 

After clearing Bass' Strait, I think it most advisable to keep (Atlaa, 
at not more than ten or twenty leagues off the coast, from Cape Plate 
Otway to Kanguroo Island ; as the wind may there be expected 

Digitized by 



260 A VOYAGE TO {South Coast. 

more favourable, and the contrary current less strong than in steer- 
ing a straight course toward Cape Leeuwin. But should the wind 
rise from the north-westward, with thick weather and a descent 
more than usually rapid in the marine barometer, a stretch offshore 
should immediately be made, to prepare for a south-west gale. A 
look-out must be kept for an island lying to the west-south-west of 
Cape Northumberland ; it was seen by Mr. Turnbull, commander 
of the Britannia, south whaler, but the weather being thick, its 
situation was not well ascertained. According to the best informa- 
tion I could procure, this island lies in 38^ south, and about 1397° or £ 
east longitude. 

From Kanguroo Island, a straight course may be made for the 
southernmost part of the Archipelago of the Recherche; but should 
the winds come from the westward and not blow a gale, or be light 
and unsteady, I would steer more northward, nearer to the land, in 
the hope of having them more favourable. From the Archipelago 
to Cape Leeuwin it seems best to keep at * distance from the land, 
unless under the n